March 20, 2013



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Growth model work group gets going

The South Dakota Department of Education has called together teachers, administrators and other experts to help study growth models for use in the state’s new accountability system.

Last month, the group had its first meeting, and representatives from REL Central gave an overview of seven selected growth models. The seven models being considered for implementation as part of South Dakota’s new accountability system are all research-based and have been thoroughly tested in other states. South Dakota’s new accountability system includes academic growth as one of the five indicators that make up the School Performance Index at the elementary and middle school levels beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

The seven models the group is considering are:
• The Gain Score growth model describes growth with simple differences of average gains over time.
• The Residual Gain model describes growth as the difference between current status and expected status given past scores.
• The Trajectory model extends gains or average gains in a predictable, usually linear fashion into the future.
• The Categorical model defines growth by transitions among status categories (i.e. Basic, Proficient, Advanced) over time.
• The Projection model uses past scores to predict future scores through regression equations.
• The Student Growth Percentiles model employs a percentile rank of current status in a reference group of students with similar past scores.
• The Multivariate or Value Added model uses entire student score histories, including other subjects and teachers, to direct higher than expected student scores associated with particular teachers.

Several of South Dakota’s neighbors are already using one of these growth models. Minnesota uses the Residual Gain model. Colorado is using the Student Growth Percentiles model, and Iowa uses the Categorical model, one of the most popular models being examined by the group.

The group will weigh the pros and cons of each model and whittle down the options at future meetings, according to Abby Javurek-Humig, the department’s director of accountability and assessment. The model could then be adapted for use on a school level, so it fits within the accountability system.

The growth model selected by this group will be different from how growth is approached for teacher evaluations.

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