Table of Contents

Understanding Expected Growth

Expected growth is denoted by the dotted line in the center of the growth indicator bar. Conceptually, growth is simply the difference between students' entering achievement and exiting achievement percentile. If students maintain their entering achievement over time, then the growth measure will be zero (or close to zero). Zero represents Expected Growth. Positive growth measures are evidence that students made more than Expected Growth, and negative growth measures are evidence that students made less than Expected Growth.

Expected growth signifies the minimum amount of academic growth that educators should expect a group of students to make as they move from one grade to the next in a specified subject area. In general, this signifies appropriate, expected academic growth. Simply put, the expectation is that regardless of their entering achievement, students served by each district, school, or teacher should at least make enough growth to maintain their achievement relative to other students. This is a reasonable target for educators who serve all types of students.

  • In the gain model, Expected Growth means that students maintained the same position with respect to the statewide student achievement that year.
  • In the predictive model, Expected Growth means that students made the same amount of growth as students with the average district or school in the state for that same year, subject, and grade.

Both models define Expected Growth based on the empirical student testing data; in other words, they do not assume a particular amount of growth or assign Expected Growth in advance of the assessment being taken by students. Both models use an intra-year approach to measuring growth and defining Expected Growth. This means that Expected Growth is always relative to how students' achievement has changed in the most recent year of testing rather than a fixed year in the past.

When a growth index falls exactly on the boundary between two colors, the higher growth indicator is assigned.