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Student Growth

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Student growth is the change in student achievement between two points in time (RCW 28A.405.100). Student growth refers to the learning progress made by students through instructional experiences.

The student growth process includes: setting goals for students, planning instruction and assessment, and reflecting on student progress. Student growth is a substantial factor in evaluating educators.

Student Growth Rubrics

Per Bulletin 035-22: TPEP Implementation Updates, districts have until the 2024-25 school year to implement the final revised Student Growth Goals. By August 2024, only the final revised Student Growth Goal rubrics will appear along side the Leadership Student Growth Goal rubrics.

More than one measure of student growth must be used in scoring the student growth rubrics and it must be determined by an analysis of evidence.

Student growth is the change in student achievement between two points in time. Student growth data must be a substantial factor in evaluating the summative performance for at least three of the evaluation criteria for both teachers and principals. 

For teachers, there are five components of student growth embedded across criteria three, six, and eight. They are the same state components for each of the approved instructional frameworks. 

  • SG 3.1-Establish Student Growth Goals
    Refers to individual or subgroups of students (achievement/opportunity gap)
  • SG 3.2-Achievement of Student Growth Goals
    Refers to individual or subgroups of students (achievement/opportunity gap)
  • SG 6.1-Establish Student Growth Goals using Multiple Student Data Elements
    Refers to the whole class based on appropriate standards and aligned to school goals
  • SG 6.2-Achievement of Student Growth Goals
    Refers to the whole class based on appropriate standards and aligned to school goals
  • SG 8.1-Establish Team Student Growth Goals
    Refers to the teacher as part of a grade-level, content area, or other school or district team

For school leaders, there are three components of student growth embedded in criteria three, five, and eight. They are also identical across both of the approved leadership frameworks. The components are:

  • SG 3-Provides evidence of student growth that results from the school improvement planning process.
  • SG 5-Provides evidence of student growth of selected teachers.
  • SG 8-Provides evidence of growth in student learning.

Upon completion of the overall summative scoring process, the evaluator will combine only the student growth rubric scores to assess the certificated classroom teacher, principal or assistant principal's student growth impact rating. The student growth impact rating will be determined by the superintendent of public instruction's student impact rating scoring band.

A student growth score of "1" in any of the rubric rows will result in an overall low student growth impact rating. Evaluators must analyze the student growth score in light of the overall summative score and determine outcomes.

View our comprehensive and focused diagrams, which provide some detail on the student growth impact rating.

Student Growth Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the RCW for TPEP is very clear and specific about measuring student growth (How much learning progress did students make over a period of time?) vs achievement (Did students reach the grade-level benchmark or cut score or proficiency level in this period of time?). There are two reasons for this:

  1. Looking at growth is fairer for purposes of evaluation. It gives the teacher who begins the year with many students performing below grade-level the same chance of showing student progress as the teacher whose students begin the year already at or close to grade-level performance.
  2. Looking at growth is fairer to students. When focusing on achievement, there’s a tendency to concentrate on the students who are “on the bubble” because it won’t take as much to get them to standard. When the stakes are high (as they are with evaluation), this tendency is exacerbated.

This focus on growth rather than achievement has not changed in the new SGGs. Since the process of setting a learning goal, monitoring progress toward the learning goal and adjusting instruction is central to teaching, student growth should be embedded in that regular flow. To do so effectively, we recommend that the two points in time to measure student growth be contained within a single unit of study.  The process is intended to provide opportunities to reflect on the impact of intentional instruction and embedding the growth goals into a unit of study allows the student growth process to be part of the natural process of instruction instead of an add-on.

No, you can still be proficient if you don’t hear back from the families of the students you are focusing on for 3.1. The proficient and distinguished rubrics include the language, “when provided.” So, if you have reached out in several different ways – perhaps email, phone, and a note home with your student – and have not received any response, this alone would not prevent you from receiving a proficient or distinguished score on 3.1. It is encouraged that teachers also find opportunities to connect with families in ways that the school may already provide, such as an open-house, back to school event or conferences.

The intention is to reinforce the supportive and growth-focused mindset we think is key to the new SGGs. OSPI is not checking to see that teachers and principals are conversing in real time. However, we believe these new rubrics to be rich enough that it would be very difficult to have a meaningful and growth-supportive conversation about them in an asynchronous fashion. Teachers will have questions and explanations; principals will have questions and suggestions. It’s unlikely it would be faster to try to ask questions, explain contexts, and offer suggestions about the complex work of teaching and learning via a long string of emails! The focus should be on encouraging a rich and meaningful, growth centered conversation.

If you consider the role of “teacher leader” at its most expansive – a teacher who effects changes in practice or facilitates learning of colleagues beyond their own classroom - it allows for many potential activities. These might include, but would not be limited to:

  • mentoring an early-career colleague around the SGG process;
  • leading a group of colleagues in developing a student perception survey;
  • bringing together a group of staff members to discuss ways to engage parents in sharing how their students learn best;
  • leading a study group on project-based learning or other forms of performance assessment, or on ways to link content goals with habits of mind; or
  • your idea here.

The Critical Attribute of Essential Standard is reliant upon the goal being a part of the WA State Learning Standards or national standards for a teacher’s content area(s) and grade level(s). We believe that in general, SEL learning best happens in the context of academic content and the processes being used to learn it. We also know from the research of Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and Lisa Feldman Barrett that it is impossible for students to learn new things absent any emotions about them, which is why we include cognitive and emotional engagement in the rubric.

Additionally, in the description of the Critical Attribute of “Essential Standards” is the provision that an essential standard may include a learning-supportive standard in addition to a content standard. Therefore, a stand-alone SEL goal would not meet the description of an essential standard but could be paired for the student growth goal.

The bullets in the guidance are not intended to be a checklist, but rather to provide clarity about the critical attribute. The descriptors of performance in the rubrics are what should be considered for scoring. Keep in mind that because the focus for the new SGGs is now a unit of study, if not all are met in the first unit, they can be addressed in a future unit.  It’s a growth-focused process, not a “one and done” as it may have been in the past, when it covered a full year.

There are several ways to learn about the revised Student Growth Goals:

  • WEA offers workshops through their Student Growth Goal Cadre. For more information, please contact Maren Johnson and see this year’s WEA TPEP professional learning schedule
  • AWSP will be offering online workshops for evaluators during the 23/24 school year. These trainings are expected to be available January 2024. For more information visit their website.
  • ESDs will be offering workshops and networks to learn about the revised Student Growth Goals, please check PdEnroller or your ESD’s schedule of upcoming offerings.

While there is no specific requirement for learning about the revised Student Growth Goals, we expect that all districts will use some of their TPEP 664 funding to provide professional learning on the new SGGs in the 2022-23 and/or 2023-24 school years to be prepared for full implementation in 2024-25. When and how that is done is a local decision. Since the change in the rubrics is significant, we strongly recommend that schools and districts engage in professional learning.

With the original student growth goals, district leaders and teachers were encouraged both to “nest” their goals (have one goal that is explored at the team, classroom, and “students not reaching potential” level) and to tie them to the School Improvement Plan (SIP). This led in some cases to district or school leadership mandating a common SGG for all teachers, no matter their students, grade level, or content area.

Central to the new SGGs is starting with the students in a teacher’s class, and using their assets, cultural funds of knowledge, interests, and academic needs to determine an appropriate goal and the learning experiences and assessments that will best serve to get them there. Does this mean that a school’s teachers can’t have a common SGG that is tied to an overall school improvement goal? No, but if this does happen, it should do so organically – rising out of what teachers are seeing in their students rather than what the district office or school leader is seeing in standardized assessment scores.

Educators who wish to pilot the new SGGs are encouraged to work with their district leaders and association representatives to figure out a plan for piloting. The TPEP office always loves to hear stories and suggestions from teachers and principals who are giving this a try, and you are welcome to share your stories by emailing us at tpep@k12.wa.us.

Supporting and sustaining an inclusive school environment is directly aligned with the acknowledgement of student belonging and knowledge of individual students. Knowledge of Individual Students includes but is not limited to cultural identity, academic, and social/emotional assets which directly connect to belonging and the belief that each and every student is known, and their voice is heard.

The purpose of the revised student growth goals is to promote instructional practice that is culturally responsive, socially, and emotionally literate and inclusive of each and every student. To that end, this purpose statement aligns with the foundational principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. Individual districts are encouraged to utilize the SSG rubrics as a resource supporting DEI initiatives at the local level.

The intent of having the goal live in a unit of study is for the work of goal setting, planning instruction, designing assessment and monitoring student learning to be a natural harvest of the teaching and learning in that unit. While this affords the opportunity for teachers to have multiple attempts in multiple units, it does not require it and the decision to repeat the process should come from discussion between the evaluator and the teacher.

In the past, OSPI provided numerous examples of student growth goals. The shift in practices that the revised rubrics emphasize is that the goals should reflect learning goals that are appropriate for a specific group of students, in a specific context at a particular time. A goal that might be appropriate for one group of students in one school in one region in the month of October would not necessarily be appropriate for another group of students of similar age and content in another school in another region in the month of November. The concern in holding up example goal statements is that they are devoid of context and knowledge of students which are essential in the formulation of student growth goals in the revised process.

An additional shift in focus is away from a goal statement and towards a conversation inclusive of a learning goal and the process intended to help students meet that goal. This shift does not easily lend itself to example statements, but we have provided a template that, through a series of reflective questions based on the critical attributes, can provide a teacher with a process to help guide in the formulation of their student growth goal.

The changes to the original .2 rubrics came at the request of educators during the pandemic as we were learning that our certain ways of determining if students were learning were unavailable to educators. Conversations with educators from across the state and in the TPEP Steering Committee led to the revision of the Student Growth Goals. For more information on what has changed, why the changes were made and what specifically the changes entail, please consult the Student Growth Goal Guidance, the Student Growth Goal videos on the Background, the .1 rubrics,  and the .2 rubrics, the “Video 1: Shift from SMART goal” and the “Comparative Analysis of Student Growth Goals” tool which are available under the “Student Growth Tools and Resources” tab.

There is no change to the impact that Student Growth has previously had on the overall summative process in evaluation. As before, the student growth impact rating will be determined by the superintendent of public instruction’s student impact rating scoring band, which is available in each instructional framework and can be found in the scoring diagrams available on the Framework and Rubric pages of the TPEP website.

A student growth goal score of “1” in any of the rubric rows will result in an overall low student growth impact rating. Evaluators must analyze the student growth score in light of the overall summative score and determine outcomes.

As with the previous student growth goal rubrics, the process of setting a learning goal, monitoring student growth and adjusting instruction is critical to the very act of teaching. The intent is for student growth to be embedded in that regular flow of teaching and learning. District leaders continue to have opportunities to suggest or build upon common goals developed by school or teacher teams, but care must be taken to ensure that the goals make sense for the students a teacher is currently teaching. The student growth process for each and every teacher should empower the teacher to answer, “Why this goal for your students at this time?” with authenticity and sincerity.

Evidence collection decisions are determined at a local level through bargaining. The intent is for the student growth process to be a natural harvest of the work of a teacher and the evaluator so we caution against creating extensive expectations for evidence that would necessitate extra work for teachers or evaluators. For more on this topic, please view these videotaped conversations between an educator and an administrator “Video 2: Process not Quantitative Data” and “Video 3: Natural Harvest” under the tab “Student Growth Tools and Resources”.