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NCEO - National Center on Educational Outcomes

Measuring Achievement Growth of Students with Disabilities

Overview

Many states have added measures of growth to their accountability systems. The intent is to give schools credit for increases in the performance of individual students from one year to the next, rather than just for the academic performance of all students at the end of the year.

Growth models track the achievement of individual students from year to year. In contrast, status models document the achievement of students at a single point in time, either in comparison to other students or in comparison to an established standard. Status models based on standards have been required under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title I accountability provisions for over 15 years. The use of growth models in addition to, or as a replacement for, the standards-based status model has received much attention. A variety of growth models exist, and each is based on specific assumptions. These assumptions may have different implications for students with disabilities. States and districts should consider the assumptions and implications of each model.