Assessment

Growth

Learning Standards

Proficiency

We want to be your go-to source for anything related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Check out our new education vocabulary.

Click on the terms on the left to learn their definition.

Assessment

1: Describes a variety of methods and tools that educators use to measure and document what students know and are able to do. Assessments include questions from a textbook, assignments developed by teachers, and standardized tests administered by the state. Different types of assessment have different uses.

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Growth

1: A measure of an individual student’s academic progress towards mastery of skills at grade level, as measured by the change in a student’s performance between two moments in time.

a. It is most commonly measured by the difference in a student’s assessments scores.

Synonyms: Individual Student Academic Growth or “student growth

2: A standard of measurement, or metric, that is used to measure school performance overall.

3: A mathematical calculation of how well a school is doing overall at improving individual student growth.

a. There are many approaches to calculating this measure. The Illinois State Board of Education has not yet decided on which mathematical calculation to use.

Synonyms: School Growth

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Learning Standards

1: Learning standards outline what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level. They provide the basis for assessments, but do not provide direction on how to teach.

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Proficiency

1: Is a learning benchmark intended to tell us whether a student has mastered a skill necessary for their grade level. A student is proficient if they are mastering the learning standards for their grade level. This is NOT a term used to describe student academic progress toward mastering a skill.

a. Measuring proficiency is often done by the state’s standardized assessment or test. Measuring progress towards a skill is what is commonly referred to as growth. (See growth)

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EXAMPLE

Proficiency tells us whether Kindergartener Jane Doe mastered the academic skill of counting to 100 using tens and ones.
Proficiency does not tell us that Kindergartener Jane Doe has mastered 60% of the learning necessary to be able count to 100 in tens and ones. Also it does not consider whether the students were proficient at the skill before they entered the classroom.

DID YOU KNOW?

Measuring proficiency is often done by the state’s standardized assessment or test. Measuring proficiency is just measuring whether or not a student has mastered the skill. Proficiency neither measure progress towards a skill or mastery beyond. Measuring progress towards a skill is what is commonly referred to as growth. (See growth)

Under No Child Left Behind, Illinois judged schools by the percent of students meeting proficiency benchmark in a grade, school, or district. Not their progress toward the skill.