Setting Appropriate Growth Goals

Discussion created by jane.nuessen@nwea.org on Jan 31, 2019

With the wealth of data schools have at their fingertips following Fall and Winter testing, growth goals are a hot topic in partner workshops.  An NWEA consultant had this question asked in a recent workshop, "What does the growth projection (goal ) do if a student went down from Fall to Winter?  I expect a bigger projected growth jump to compensate for that decline from the baseline RIT." 


Here's some food for thought from our cadre of consultants...


"First look at why there was a drop.  If it was a false drop due to something like disengagement, the Winter to Spring growth projection would not necessarily be a reliable picture."


"Growth projections are always based on points in time and you can choose which points to compare: Fall to Winter, Fall to Spring, Winter to Spring, Spring to Spring, Fall to Fall, or Winter to Winter.  Fall to Spring projections don't consider Winter scores nor do Winter to Spring projection take into account what happened in from Fall to Winter. If the original growth goal was set on a Fall to Spring projection, after Winter testing we could leave that projection as is, Spring growth based on a Fall score, but why wouldn't we consider the new information we have about the student via a Winter score?  A good analogy is this....if I set a goal to lose 10 lbs. a week and by week two I was only averaging 1 lb. a week, keeping my goal at 10 seems silly.  Maybe I don't reset my goal to 1lb. a week (After all, I have some catching up to do.) but knowing my rate of loss (or in this case, the rate the student is growing) gives me context on which to set a new, more appropriate goal.  So maybe I say 2 lbs. per week."


"Some districts are using a Fall to Spring projections to set growth goals and viewing the Winter score as a type of progress monitoring.  In that scenario they work with the growth goal just as they do any other student goal that is set and then progress monitored along the way.  Appropriate adjustments are made to support the student reach an attainable goal."


Please feel free to respond to the original question or add your own comments to this discussion thread. We are interested in what you think!


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