EdNews Parent Backgrounder: Colorado Growth Model

Q. What is the Colorado Growth Model?

A. The Colorado Growth Model is a collection of data enabling parents, educators and community members to easily evaluate student achievement over time at public schools across the state.

The model addresses critics who said looking at a single year snapshot of test scores didn’t reveal much except how students were able to perform on one day. The growth model shows growth – or decline – in Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) test scores over time. Second-language learners and/or low-income students may start school at a lower achievement rate than students who come from highly educated, more affluent households. The growth model focuses more on moving all students up, instead of focusing on where a student starts his/her education.

Under the growth model, a student’s progress is compared to that of other students with historically similar scores the state. A student growth percentile is then calculated based on the percentage of those academic peers who experienced more growth than this student.

For example, a student who progresses more than 60 percent of his or her academic peers has a student growth percentile of 60 percent. A score of below 35 percent is considered “low growth” by the Colorado State Board of Education. Typical growth reflects a score of 35 to 60 percent, while the average score is 60 percent. The scores of every student who have remained in a given school or district for two consecutive years are included to provide score data over time. Because scores reflect longer periods of time than a simple year’s worth of results, anomalies that might alter the data in a given year are accounted for, giving a more accurate representation of the quality of the school.

The growth model includes statistics for various ethnicities, genders, and grade levels of each school. Parents who review growth model data can also pull out groups of students, such as students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch or gifted and talented students.

For a visually stunning representation of these statistics and to search for growth per school, click on “Colorado Growth Model” on www.schoolview.org. Or watch this video tutorial.