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“Indicators of Closing the Achievement Gap” versus “Indicators of Academic Growth (PVAAS)”​

Educators often use the term “growth” in general terms as they consider the progress and performance of their students. It is helpful to define what is meant by “growth” when we discuss the progress of students in various contexts. In some cases, educators refer to “growth” as they discuss closing the achievement gap and a change in the percentage of students who achieve Proficient and Advanced scores on state assessments. It is important to remember that this is not the same way “growth” is defined in PVAAS.

Indicators of Closing the Achievement Gap

Is the percentage of students reaching proficiency increasing each year, at a rate needed to close the achievement gap?

  • Changes in percentage of students reaching proficiency
  • Different groups of students compared as student groups change grade levels from year to year
  • PSSA – includes students who take the PSSA, PASA and were enrolled for a full academic year (FAY)
  • Keystone – students’ best score to date (per module) for all grade 11 students enrolled for a full academic year (FAY)

Indicators of Academic Growth (PVAAS)

Did the group of students maintain, gain, or fall behind with regard to their achievement, based upon their entering achievement?

  • Academic growth of students relative to changes in their entering and exiting achievement during the reported year
  • PSSA – includes students who take the PSSA and were enrolled for a full academic year (FAY)
  • Keystone – students enrolled for a full academic year (FAY) whose score in the reported year was higher than prior year(s), OR whose score was their first Keystone score in the indicated content area
    Note: Each student taking a Keystone (with a Keystone score) in the reported year is considered