State Growth Contribution: Student Growth Percentiles–What?

by Terry Heick

Browsing the Kentucky Department of Education’s site recently (well, today),  I stumbled on a morass of jargon and folly so wordy and spectacularly wrong-headed that I had to share.

“All Kentucky educators will have a local contribution to their Overall Student Growth Rating based on their Student Growth Goal, and all 4-8 grade English and Math teachers will have an additional state contribution based on their Student Growth Percentiles.

A student growth percentile (SGP) measures change in an individual student’s performance over time. It shows each student’s rate of change compared to other students with a similar test score history. The rate of change is expressed as a percentile. The students with whom the student is being compared is referred to as the students’ “academic peers.”

Each student’s SGP, the median SGP for each section taught by a teacher, and the median SGP for all students (taught by a teacher) in the test subject area will be used as data for the state contribution of Student Growth. For more information, please visit the Student Growth Percentile Medians page.

Student Growth Research and Videos to Support the Use of Student Growth Goals
The above resource link provides videos, Student Growth research and a description of what some other states are using. Its advisable that users save the above link for easy access and use.
The Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and Student Growth
The LDC and Student Growth page, linked above, provides many resources to support teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches that are exploring how to use tools from the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) to measure and/or support Student Growth.”

So in layman’s terms, this is  page that clarifies what contributes to ‘State Growth,’ then further defines the related terms (e.g., ‘academic peers’), then finally generally explains how it’s calculated. Does the idea of a Median Student Growth Percentile sound intimidating? No worries, there’s a PowerPoint for that.


Included are gems like “—Mrs. Smith had a median SGP of 52. She has a state contribution student growth rating of Expected. —Teacher will receive annual scores plus a combined 3 year score based on attributable SGP scores,” and, usefully, “—Changing prior year data can cause data integrity issues.”

I stopped reading after that. Good gracious, I don’t know where to start. I don’t have a single useful thing to add. I…just…this is our best thinking?