On September 25 of last year, it was reported that Rocketship United Academy in Davidson County, Tennessee has enjoyed academic improvement among their students. Part of this milestone has been attributed to changes in the way educators in Davidson County evaluate their students.
Traditionally, schools in Davidson County relied on measures of proficiency, or a quantification of a child’s mastery of a subject in a particular year, to measure achievement. Therein lies the flaw; it doesn’t give the full picture of a student’s time in school. To remedy this, Rocketship tracked student progress via a different metric: growth.
Unlike proficiency, “growth” compares a student’s academic performance in a school year compared to those of previous years. Instead of determining whether a student has reached a milestone, growth evaluates a student’s improvement compared to performance in prior years. The goal is to focus not on raw talent but on the work required to help underperforming students catch up with peers.
Indeed, this evaluation method, called the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), has been utilized by over 7,400 schools around the world. Through this progress-oriented mindset, many students in other regions of the world have enjoyed considerable growth in academic achievement, especially so in impoverished areas. Seventy percent of students at Rocketship United Academy are from economically disadvantaged areas of Davidson County, and 146 students who were behind academically have recently caught up.
It is strongly recommended that parents in Nashville, Tennessee who want to track their child’s performance in school to not ask simply about the child’s proficiency, but in their growth. It may be a stronger path to their success.
About Rocketship Education
Rocketship Education is a Redwood, CA-based non-profit organization that serves disadvantaged communities across the United States. Founded in 2006 by educators John Danner and Preston Smith, Rocketship education has nineteen schools across Nashville, Milwaukee, Northern California, and Washington D.C., with two more due to open in August. The organization seeks to help children achieve their potential, emphasizing the value of personalized learning, talent development, and parent power. For more, visit their website here.