When looking at student progress, there is the traditional proficiency model used in the majority of public schools, which compares a student’s progress and ability to where it assumed he should be according to his current grade level. A student who is considered below grade level often stays there and may even fall further behind. Standardized assessments implemented by states are sources of proficiency data and leave out a key factor which may better assist a student who is considered behind his peers: growth data. Growth data illustrates where a student’s abilities currently lie, not just compared to grade level. Using assessments such as NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment provide teachers with a clearer picture as to whether or not a student is responding to instruction, rather than are they reaching grade-level proficiency.
Rocketship Education is one such school where it is progress versus proficiency and that socio-economic boundaries can be overcome by focusing on student progress. They seek to serve a student population who may begin school behind their peers due to environment and resources and then struggle to keep up. When a student may need to make more than a school year’s worth of growth to meet proficiency, students can begin to lose hope of ever catching up.
To close this achievement gap, Rocketship Education employs community involvement and utilizes parents as advocates for their students’ education. Families can be one of the most powerful tools in assisting students and a cooperative relationship with the school can lead to tremendous change. Using highly qualified teachers, each student receives personalized learning instead of a “one size fits all” approach. Each child is different and using a mix of technology and progress assessment students are taught where they are currently performing, not where they are assumed they should be. Rocketship Education strives to meet each child where they are and take them where they want to go.