Student Growth


Effective Teaching Leads to Student Excellence

In additional to Professional Practice, we also consider how our teachers contribute to student success. Student Growth compares the impact of a school and/or teacher on the academic growth of his or her students from one year to the next. Looking at a teacher’s impact on student learning provides helpful information on his or her performance, especially when we combine it with other information. For this reason, state law (PERA) requires that student growth be a “significant factor” in teacher evaluation.

Student Growth is measured in two ways – teacher-designed performance tasks and standardized tests.

The two REACH Students Student Growth measures are:

REACH Students Performance Tasks are written or hands-on. They give students a chance to show mastery, or progress towards mastery, of a selected standard(s) or skill(s). The skill(s) and standard(s) we look for are aligned with students’ grade levels and match with either the Common Core State Standards (literacy and math) or national standards for the subject they are studying.

REACH Students Performance Tasks ask students to do something specific or find meaning on their own rather than select answers from a list. They give us valuable information about what students know and do not yet know. This gives teachers helpful clues they can use for students to improve not just their knowledge, but how they “put it all together."

Students are given both Performance Tasks at the beginning and end of year. Both tasks measure the same standard(s) and skill(s). For the purpose of teacher evaluation, teachers are assigned a score based on the overall growth of their students on these two tasks.

REACH Students Performance Tasks are developed by teams of CPS teachers. More than 250 CPS teachers from preschool to 12th grade in 12 different content areas came together to write the Performance Tasks used by CPS every year.

In CPS, we measure growth in classes where we have tests using an approach called Value-Added. It determines whether a teacher’s students perform as expected, better than expected or less than expected on tests. Value-added looks at the growth of a school's or teacher's students compared to the growth of similar students across the District.

Value-added methods level the playing field by considering each student’s prior performance and factors that influence growth outside the teacher’s control. Examples include poverty and students with disabilities.

This approach also makes a fair comparison to similar students across the district. If all students in a teacher’s class perform better than expected, the Value-Added result is positive. Value-added helps us to focus on the school or teacher's impact on student learning, setting aside factors outside of the teacher's control.

The CPS Value-Added model was developed by experts at the Value-Added Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For teacher evaluation, Value-Added measures growth at the school and teacher level using the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test given in grades 2–8 and the ACT Educational Planning and Assessment (EPAS) given in grades 9–11.

Factors that Impact Student Growth

Value-added models can help us be clear about the impact of schooling on student success. These models allow us to set aside any things beyond the educator's ability to change. Some examples include characteristics like race, gender, homelessness, mobility and disability.

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, April 01, 2015