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NCLB Outrages

The "Growth" Model

NOTE: The U. S. Department of Education's 'growth' proposal does nothing to change the garbage-in, garbage-out destructive effects of high stakes testing. It retains what Monty Neill of FairTest has described as "the impossible and warping requirement that almost all students attain the proficient level by 2014."

by Joel Packer

Here are a few key highlights of the new growth model policy:

The new policy also does not prescribe any specific growth model. It allows states to submit a plan to the Department by 2/17/06. US DOE will then review the plan and decide whether it is approved, denied, or needs to be modified.Thus, many different growth models might be allowed.

Any growth model approved can be utilized in the current school year (2005-06).

Essentially, within some "bright line" non-negotiable issues, states can develop and propose significant revision of their AYP systems.

This new policy essentially validates what NEA has been saying for several years: that the current "snapshot" model of AYP is fundamentally flawed, and that using some measure of student growth is a more reliable and valid accountability measure for schools.


Any growth model submitted by states must still result in 100% of all students being proficient in reading and math by 2013-14.

Any growth model cannot backload how much growth is expected until the last couple of years and must put the state on a reasonable trajectory to get to 100% by 2013-14 for all subgroups.

A state however, may set a point in time with a set goal: such as within four years students will be on grade level by the end of the school level they are currently attending

Cannot base growth targets on previous rates of growth or "typical" rates of growth.

The state's standards and assessment system must be approved by US DOE for this school year. US DOE is in the process of conducting peer reviews of each state's system. Of the first five states reviewed for which letters were issued by US DOE, none had received final approval, so this could be a major limitation.

A state may only use growth if it tests in each of grades 3-8 (and once in high school) for at least two years. Thus any state which until this year (the first year under NCLB which mandates testing in each of grades three thorough eight) didn't do so, couldn't use a growth model at least until the 2006-07 school year.

Growth models can be based on either individual or cohort growth.

A growth model might present new issues, when used for subgroups of students whose percent proficient is higher than the state's current AYP annual % proficient target. Since a growth model is supposed to cover all students, it might end up requiring growth for these subgroups that now don't have to do anything to meet AYP. Thus, some schools that now make AYP could find themselves failing AYP due to higher performing groups not growing above their current levels.

A state may set different growth systems for elementary and middle schools (where most or all grades are tested) and for high schools where only one grade is tested.

From: Packer, Joel [NEA]
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:38 AM
To: DC Rethink Account
Subject: Growth Model announcement and other NCLB happenings!

The U.S. Department of Education will announce its proposals for use of growth models in AYP on Friday at the annual meeting of the Council of Chief State Schools Officers in Richmond, VA. I do not yet have details on what they will announce.

I also want to alert you to three new reports on NCLB:

1) The Department of Education released on November 10, “No Child Left Behind: A Road Map to State Implementation”. This 26-page report, available at: http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/roadmap/index.html describes the Department’s activities and policies concerning NCLB. This report states that US DOE is planning new policies on both assessing students with disabilities (the implementation of the so-called 2% rule) and LEP students.

2) The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) recently released Statewide Educational Accountability under the NCLB Act—A Report on 2005 Amendments to State Plans, a detailed report on changes to state accountability plans. This 50-page document describes all the changes to state plans allowed and denied by US DOE.

3) The Center on Education Policy recently released a new report, Hope but No Miracle Cures :Michigan’s Early Restructuring Lessons http://www.cep-dc.org/fededprograms/michiganNov2005/HopebutNoMiracleCure.pdf

This 33-page report provides an in-depth analysis of what happened to schools in Michigan that were subject to restructuring under NCLB.

Joel Packer
Manager, ESEA Policy
Government Relations
202-255-0915 (cell)
202-822-7309 (fax)

— Joel Packer
National Education Assocation


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