What is a Student Growth Percentile?

A student growth percentile (SGP) describes how much a student has grown relative to other students with similar test scores in the past. The SGP methodology is unique in that it provides information on both a student’s growth standard and how much they have grown in a metric that is familiar to teachers and parents.

The SGP calculations are complex, but the resulting information is easy to understand for most stakeholders. In the article we will describe the key concepts of SGPs and how to interpret them, and then demonstrate some basic analyses using the data sgp website. We will also show how SGPs can be used to create multi-year growth projections for individual students.

When preparing and managing SGP analysis data it is important to use the right software/hardware and to follow the correct process for getting and storing the necessary data. It is also important to format the data correctly and to store it in a location that is accessible for use with SGP analyses. We recommend the LONG data format for operational analyses as this has many preparation and storage advantages over WIDE data.

There are 7 required variables when using LONG data with SGP analyses: VALID_CASE, CONTENT_AREA, YEAR, ID, SCALE_SCORE, GRADE and ACHIEVEMENT_LEVEL (on required if running student growth projections). The variable OTHER_DATA contains optional demographic/student categorization information. The sgptData_LONG data set includes all of these variables in an anonymized panel data format for 8 windows (3 windows annually) of assessment data for 3 content areas.

For the most common educational use of SGPs it is important to be able to view a graphic depiction of the distribution of student scores within each percentile range. This can help to quickly identify the most and least successful schools, and provide a visual reference for the relative performance of students across schools. The data sgp site has an annotated image of the SGP distribution that is helpful for this purpose.

In addition to graphical representations of the SGP distribution there are tabular reports that can be run from the web page. These reports provide information on the number of students in each percentile, the mean and median student score, and the percentage of students that scored above or below the state average.

In order to run these reports on the data sgp website the user will need to have access to the appropriate school, district or state level login information. Once the login information has been entered the web page will display a list of all available reports for that user. The user will then need to click on the report they would like to view. The reports will open in a new window and the user can close the new window when they are finished viewing the report. A print option is also provided for each report. The print option will open a PDF of the report for the user to download if they wish to do so.