The 74 — Petruzzi: In Growth-vs.-Proficiency Debate, Data, Trust, and Time Are Keys to True Student Performance

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Marco Petruzzi_headshot

 

 

By Marco Petruzzi
CEO, Green Dot Public Schools National

For too long, student proficiency has been winning the debate against student growth. Somehow the reigning idea has been that we can understand student success along with educator and school effectiveness by measuring absolute student outcomes, absent their starting point and ignoring the progress and growth students have achieved.

Using math and reading test scores to determine school performance asks us to measure where students are at a single moment and then make decisions and determinations about those students, their teachers, and their school — all based on how proficient they are at that time. This calculus oversimplifies the reality of public education, the quality of a school, and students’ actual ability to succeed. And it’s frankly just lazy.

When proficiency is the only metric by which we seek to understand how well our schools are educating our kids, we miss out on other important considerations. For instance, if we were to measure a student’s performance based on his or her growth — the student’s progress in learning, and how quickly that learning advances over time — we’d get a better idea of how well the school is actually educating its students.

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