Measuring Learning Growth

June 11, 2007 1 min read

Supporters of the “growth model” approach—measuring individual student growth over time—argue that it is a positive alternative to the single end-of-the-year tests often used to satisfy the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, and a way to determine teacher effectiveness.

Indeed, “the education ‘growth model’ seems poised to become the latest ‘best idea ever’ in the faddish world of education,” John Merrow writes in this Education Week commentary.

But, Mr. Merrow warns, the idea will not work in urban schools, where the student-turnover rate is often high. Unless schools align their curricula and tests, measuring the growth of students who move between schools—who are often the most needy, most vulnerable, and lowest-scoring, he says—will be hard to achieve.

What do you think? Would measurement approaches based on “learning growth” resolve some of the concerns over NCLB? What is the most effective way to measure the growth of students who move between schools?

A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.