Understanding Academic Growth

Understanding Academic Growth

Posted on January 25, 2019

You may have noticed a new stat on schools' profile pages:


What is this Academic Growth number, and where does it come from?

Academic Growth is a way of measuring how much students are growing from year to year, taking into account where they're starting from. Even if a student is not yet meeting expectations, they could have a high growth score if they are making progress compared to their peers.

Here are a few examples:

Johnny is a 4th grader.

  • Last year he got a 300 on his 3rd grade PARCC test.
  • This year, most NJ students who got around a 300 on their 3rd grade PARCC test got about a 350 on their 4th grade test.
  • Johnny got a 500 this year.
  • Johnny outperformed most of his peers on his test this year, so he has a high growth score.

Maria is a 7th grader.

  • Last year she got a 550 on her 6th grade PARCC test.
  • This year, most NJ students who got around a 550 on their 6th grade tests got about a 575 on their 7th grade tests.
  • Maria got a 500 this year.
  • Maria scored lower than most of her peers on her test this year, so she has a lower growth score.

Even though Johnny and Maria got the same score on their test, their growth scores are different because they were starting from a different place.

How do you get from student growth to a school growth score?

  1. Each student in grades 4-8 gets a growth score.
  2. For each school, we line up all these scores and take the median to get the schools’ growth score.
  3. We line up all the schools in New Jersey that serve at least 80% low-income students and look at where this school’s growth score falls in that order.

If a school's academic growth says 50%, that means they were exactly in the middle of similar schools. Schools with growth scores above 50% did better than average, and those with lower growth scores did worse than average.

Questions or feedback about this information? Give us a call at (856) 536-3999 or email info@camdenenrollment.org to share your thoughts!