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ERIC Number: ED509965
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
Connecting RESEARCH to PRACTICE: Knowing Who Is Proficient Isn't Always Sufficient
Gossin-Wilson, Will
Learning Point Associates
During the past decade, the percentage of proficient students (PPS) has become the primary indicator of school performance. Educators use the PPS to monitor changes in performance over time, compare performance across groups, and assess trends in achievement gaps. The PPS is relatively new, first used with the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the 1990s. Although the PPS seems to be a straightforward indicator of student performance, can a single, simple indicator be trusted to provide essential information about a very complex system? Can the PPS support the inferences that educators and policymakers want to make from it? This document presents three components to help educators and policymakers understand the limitations of relying on a single measurement tool and the value of continually seeking out multiple perspectives on student performance data. First, the executive summary provides an overview of the argument and explains how the multiple recommended tools are sufficient on their own but robust when used together. The second section provides a more detailed explanation of the particular limitations of the PPS that many educators are not even aware of. The final section describes in more detail how each tool functions, what it does well, and what its limitations are. Each of these sections will allow educators and policymakers to quickly determine what they know, what they need to know, and how to more effectively monitor--and thereby improve--a school's performance. (Contains 5 footnotes and 5 figures.)
Learning Point Associates. 1120 East Diehl Road Suite 200, Naperville, IL 60563-1486. Tel: 800-252-0283; Fax: 630-649-6722; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Learning Point Associates
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress