The Performance Framework Uncovered: Evaluating Student Progress Over Time Part 2

Tonight we continue with our blog series, Performance Framework: Uncovered.  If you’re checking in to this series for the first time, you can start with our first post in this series here.

In our last post  we began a discussion on the Academic Framework’s measures for “Student Progress Over Time”. We covered Measure 1a—Expected Growth. Tonight we’ll dive into measures 1b and 1c—Expected Growth of Lowest Performing Students, and Growth-to-Proficiency.

1)     Measure 1b: Expected Growth of Lowest Performing Students

Measure 1b is very similar to 1a. After students receive their fall scores, the school ranks out the students from highest to lowest score. The lowest 25% of student scores are considered the “lowest-performing quartile”.  Measure 1b evaluates the growth of this 25% in the same way that the whole school was evaluated in Measure 1a. Refer to the chart below for rankings.

The ratings for this category are weighted 15% for elementary and middle schools and 12.5% in high school.

2)     Measure 1c: Growth-to-Proficiency

Measure 1c uses statistics gathered by the DOE to determine the percentage of students who are on track to reach proficiency (or to continue to be proficient) in three years or by 10th grade, whichever is sooner. The way they calculate this can get a little complicated—it starts with figuring out how many total points a student needs to earn to be proficient in a 4 year period (the current year, plus three more years). Then it considers the average growth per grade for students in Delaware. See the chart below for these numbers.

So for example, if Student A is on-level in 3rd grade reading in the fall, and in the spring his growth is 69 points, then he is on track to achieve proficiency at the end of 6th grade.  This assumes that since he made the appropriate growth this year, he will also make it for the following 3 years. If Student B is below level in 3rd grade reading in the fall, and make 69 points growth, like Student A, he will not be considered on track to proficiency. Because he started with a lower score, he needs to make more growth each year than the average 3rd grader in order to be proficient by 6th grade.

Important note: If students are categorized in “PL4” (as opposed to Pl 1, 2, or 3) then they are automatically considered to be on track to proficiency.

So after all of these measures are calculated for each student, the school calculates the percentage of your students that are on track to reach proficiency and that number is placed on the rating scale for the framework (see below).

The score in this category is weighted 17.5% in elementary and middle schools and 15% in high schools.

These metrics are crucial to understanding the academic success of a school. If we were to evaluate a school strictly on the level of proficiency of its students, we would be missing a large part of our students’ stories. When a student comes in well below grade level and makes massive growth, even if she is still below proficiency, that’s a success for her, her teacher, and her school. If she keeps making that level of growth, she will reach—and maybe even exceed—proficiency. These schools should be celebrated. On the other hand, if a student comes in above grade level, misses his growth target, and leaves the year on, but not above, grade level—that’s a red flag that the school is not giving him what he needs. If we did not evaluate student growth, this student’s experience would fly under the radar and he could end up below grade level down the line.


Thanks for tuning in to our blog series, The Performance Framework: Uncovered. Stay tuned for our next installment where we’ll dive into another piece of the Academic Framework—proficiency ratings.