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How Much Does the Absence of Student Growth Measures Distort School Performance Scores and Affect Accountability?

Douglas N. Harris (Presenter) and Lihan Liu

Date & Time
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
12:00–1:00 pm
1555 Poydras Street, Suite 700

With recent changes in fed­er­al pol­i­cy, states such as Louisiana are con­sid­er­ing mea­sur­ing school per­for­mance in new ways. One of the old­est, and per­haps most sig­nif­i­cant, issues has been on the dis­tinc­tion between stu­dent achieve­ment ​levels​ver­sus ​growth​. The vast major­i­ty of states focus most­ly or exclu­sive­ly on achieve­ment lev­els. This includes Louisiana’s School Per­for­mance Scores (SPS) and the let­ter grades based on them. The prob­lem, how­ev­er, with SPS and oth­er achieve­ment lev­el-based mea­sures is that stu­dents enter schools at very dif­fer­ent start­ing points, which means achieve­ment lev­els may be unin­for­ma­tive about how much stu­dents are real­ly learn­ing and, there­fore, about school per­for­mance. In this brown bag, we will present esti­mates for schools’ aver­age stu­dent growth, or val­ue-added,” along­side SPS for a sam­ple of schools in New Orleans and through­out the state (As always, any school-lev­el data we dis­cuss will be anonymized). How dif­fer­ent are school per­for­mance mea­sures once we account for stu­dent growth? How dif­fer­ent would account­abil­i­ty pres­sures be if we used a mix of achieve­ment lev­els and growth, as the state Board of Ele­men­tary and Sec­ondary Edu­ca­tion is now proposing?

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