What is the difference between growth "target" and growth "projection"?

Document created by Community User on Oct 12, 2016Last modified by Community User on Jun 6, 2017
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What is the difference between growth "target" and growth "projection" and why should we be cautious when using either term?

The growth norms were never intended as growth targets, they simply represent our best estimate of the average growth of students at the various points of the RIT scale. In other words, they represent the growth of the proverbial "middle child" in the norming sample.

A growth projection is merely a prediction of how much a student will grow over a specified time period. The prediction is based on the average performance of students in the norm study, considering their starting score, grade level, and when in the academic year the two tests used to estimate growth are administered. This projection can be adopted as a growth target, but this is not recommended. We believe that it is more appropriate to use the projection to inform what the target should be. This allows the educator to exercise professional judgment to consider other factors and knowledge about the student and the school when setting growth targets.

Projections should guide the decision alongside several other factors: what the schools have done with the growth in the past, what kind of growth is needed for the student to achieve his or her aspirations, and what kind of resources schools can bring forth for improving their growth. These should all be considered when setting the target.

Target growth should be the growth that the student and family aspire to achieve. That goal should be based on:
  • The educational goals of the child and family and the growth required to attain them.
  • The nature of the child, including the child's academic gifts, interests, character, and work ethic.
  • Conditions in the school or home that may support or (occasionally) inhibit additional growth. These include the availability of tutoring, after school programs, etc.

The growth norms can provide some parameters for discussion by helping the teacher, child, and family understand the range of growth that's typical. If the average growth for a child is projected at 8, then the family would know that a growth target of 2 might be too conservative, or a growth target of 30 too ambitious.

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