In a Tennessean article published on September 25, 2017, James Robinson explained the difference between growth testing and proficiency testing as a way of measuring how students are doing.
He explained that proficiency testing merely tells what grade level the student is on at a particular time while growth testing tells how much a student progressed over a certain period.
Growth testing is important to all students and particularly when measuring the progress of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who tend to be behind when they enter a school. If a student is not yet at grade level but has progressed 1.3 grade levels over the past year, there is great hope that at that rate, the student is catching up to his or her expected grade level. Without that kind of progress, students from a low-income family are likely to get discouraged and end up dropping out before finishing high school.
James Robinson, who is the founding principal of Rocketship United Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, encourages parents to not only look at proficiency test results but also growth results. Based on a Measures of Academic Progress test used at his school, Rocketeers improved 1.35 years in math and 1.2 years in reading. Even if a student is not yet up to grade level, this is encouraging!
Originally founded in 2006, the Rocketship Education Model is based on the belief in the infinite possibility of human potential. Over the years, their nonprofit network of public elementary schools has grown and proven that the belief in unleashing the potential of every individual student results in measurable progress.
Rocketship Education partners students, educators, parents and the community in helping children to become all they can be. Although there is always room for growth and improvement, the Rocketship Education Model seems to be proving that their mission to improve the achievement gap in their lifetime is entirely possible.