When the school semester or the school year ends, most parents want a scorecard which shows the progress that their child has made through the semester. However, there is a new trend which is developing, where parents are more concerned with the growth of their children’s academic capability over time as opposed to the results of the growth process. The schools in Nashville will be in a position to get measures of academic progress for their students, as opposed to simply measuring their proficiency at the end of the year.
The difference between the growth and proficiency scores is that growth scores show how much a student is learning, regardless of the point where they start the process. Rocketship schools have more trust in this new system of measuring growth because instead of parents asking whether their kids have reached a certain proficiency level, they are now in a position to ask how far the student has grown. So far, close to 7400 schools in the state are using the system, and the difference is notable in their changing academic successes.
The program mainly focuses on students from poor social-economic backgrounds because, in Nashville, most of the student in public schools are economically disadvantaged. If this disparity is ignored, the achievement gap between kids from the well-up and the disadvantaged backgrounds will keep widening. For instance, if a child at the kindergarten level is already scoring in the 10th percentile on a nationally standardized test, there are high chances that they may drop out of school or never even get to college. It is therefore important to measure growth so that these kids who need help can get it.
The Rocketship Academies realized that there was a gap, especially in areas with a high number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and set up schools where one’s economic disadvantage does not have to translate to missed opportunities in educational achievement. More than 70 percent of students attending these academies are even able to grow more than one grade level in a year. The academies have a vision to eliminate the achievement gap in their lifetime and a mission to enable change in low-income environments through a sustainable and scalable public-school model. The school believes in authenticity, community, innovation and tenacity. The school system believes that the best way to challenge the status quo is through empowering the less advantaged and taking risks which could lead to significant impact.