Earlier this week Jim Hull, policy analyst for our very own Center for Public Education, briefed a group of congressional staffers on “Improving Accountability Measures for Local Schools and School Districts.” Hull focused the briefing on two areas :
- What growth models are and how they should be used; and
- Whether schools should be given credit for students that take longer than four years to graduate high school.
Staffers were provided insights into what different types of growth models there are, how they should be used, what states or districts would need to have in place to develop a growth model. BoardBuzz was particularly interested to learn that the terms “growth models” and “value-added” were not synonymous, even though many people use them interchangeably. As Hull explained,
Value-added models are a type of growth model but not all growth models are value-added models. Just as a square is a type of rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares.
As for whether schools should be given credit for those students who take longer than four years to graduate high school (late graduates) BoardBuzz and the staffers found out the answer is a resounding yes! Hull provided a wealth of interesting data which showed that late graduates were more successful after high school than their classmates who went on to earn a GED or dropped out all together. Late graduates were also as well off in some aspects of life after high school as their classmates from similar backgrounds who graduated on-time, though not in others. So indeed, students are better off graduating late than never and schools should be given credit for these students.
For those who would like to learn more, BoardBuzz strongly recommends checking out Jim Hull’s presentation here. And we’re happy to report that you won’t get lost if you’re not a statistical or research expert —BoardBuzz certainly isn’t — Hull provides the information in non-technical terms that school board members, policymakers, and the general public can easily understand so they can be more informed participants in the accountability debate.