You’ve just gotta love the lofty titles of Obama’s Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA), and its predecessor, Bush’s 2001’s No Child Left Behind, or NCLB—as if a 100% success rate were ever doable. No stragglers, no one bringing up the rear, no one back there at all.


Meanwhile, since its inception in 2015, ESSA implementation has gone forward and, in the name of flexibility, all states except California and Kansas now rate schools in part on standardized test scores via so-called “Growth Models.” How is all set out in the Data Quality Campaign’s “Growth Data: It Matters and It’s Complicated” report.

Ah, data… With thanks to Education Week’s assistant editor Alyson Klein, here’s the breakdown:

  • “Student Growth Percentile” ~ This majority-preferred measure tells the world “how schools served different kids who started at about the same academic level.”
  • “A Value Table” ~ Used by 12 states, it “gives a measure of student progress… and whether students moved from the ‘basic’ to the ‘proficient’ level on standardized tests.”
  • “The Growth to Standard Measure” ~ Used by 10 states, it shows “how far on– or off-track students are from where they’re supposed to be presently in school” and how long until they’re proficient.
  • “Value-Added Measures” ~ Used by 8 states, this “shows the impact teachers and other adults in the school have on student achievement.”
  • “The Gain Score Measure” ~ Used by 3 states, it “looks at how much states have improved from one year to the next.”

As for the remaining 13 states, Klein reports that 3 have gone with hard-to-classify measures and 10 use a combination of those above.

And the cost? In teaching and learning, it’s incalculable. In dollars, standardized testing costs states some $1.7 billion a year—and all students still don’t succeed…