At issue is whether the state will measure students’ performance over time, revealing which schools help students learn more from one year to the next. That would mean, for example, reporting how this year’s fifth graders compare to last year’s fourth graders at a given school. The current system instead measures how this year’s fourth graders compare to last year’s fourth graders, so it doesn’t reveal whether individual students are actually learning more.
Advocates for struggling students say measuring progress over time is key to closing the achievement gap that separates white, Asian-American and middle-class students from their black, Latino and low-income peers. For years, they’ve been lobbying state education officials to start measuring growth.
But after studying several ways growth could be measured, the state board of education delayed making a decision, saying the metric yielded volatile results that don’t necessarily show if achievement gaps are closing. Activists lined up at the board meeting this month to plead with the board to take action so that parents and educators can start seeing growth measures soon. But to no avail—the board voted simply to continue studying the idea.