States Think Each Kid is a Number and They Mean It.


In the state of Georgia, the Department of Education announced via its website, and a YouTube video that each student in the state is defined by a number, which is derived from an end of the year test or a CRCT test.  I’m not kidding. Take a look at this video.

Figure 1.  Each student in Georgia's public schools is a number according to a score an end of year test. Source: GDOE

Figure 1. Each student in Georgia’s public schools is a number according to a score an end of year test. Source: GDOE

The state uses test scores to “measure” how much growth the student attains from year to year.  This “measure” is known as an SGP or Student Growth Percentile.I am not making this up.  Here is a quote from the Georgia Department of Education website

SGPs describe a student’s growth relative to his/her academic peers – other students with similar prior achievement (i.e., those with a similar history of scores). A growth percentile is generated for each student which describes his or her “rank” on current achievement relative to other students with similar score histories. A growth percentile can range from 1 to 99. Lower percentiles indicate lower academic achievement growth and higher percentiles indicate higher academic growth. – See more here.

The SGP model is a national event.  You can do a Google search and get about 3 million hits for Student Growth Percentile. According the state of Massachusetts, students with similar SGPs are “test score peers” and since they are, they can be compared to each other to calculate how much growth they have made in a subject, such as mathematics.  Using test scores, students with the same test scores from different parts of the state are compared to each other and ranked.  You can see this explained in this video. If you would like to hear this explained by Pearson Publishing, then you can watch this video. Here are some additional images to give you an idea of how people are convinced that they can use test scores in valid and reliable ways to measure the growth of students from one year to the next, in comparison with students across state.

Figure 1. SGPs and how they are used.  GDOE.

Figure 1. SGPs and how they are used. GDOE.

Figure 3. Ranking kids based on growth.

Figure 3. Ranking kids based on growth.

Using SGPs dehumanizes learning, and reduces student’s knowledge and worth to a number derived from a multiple choice test taken while sitting in front of a computer. All of this is taking education down a path in which standards-based test accountability drives the curriculum, and our conception of learning.

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