Public Data Growth Model FAQs


General Questions


What do those bubbles mean?

The bubbles are Colorado's way of showing you how schools' academic performance compares to each other, and to all other schools in the state on average. The higher a bubble is in the chart, the higher its percentage of proficient and advanced students in that subject area. This is called achievement level, or status. The further to the right in the chart a bubble is, the higher that school's typical growth.

The chart can be roughly divided into four quadrants but two lines, one vertical and one horizontal. The colored horizontal line that appears when you are looking only at elementary, middle, or high schools is the average school achievement level across the state. Every elementary school in Colorado has a percentage of its kids that are proficient or advanced this line represents the average of all these school-level percentages, or the state total. Similarly, the vertical line at for growth percentile of 50 represents the state "average" growth for all kids (it's actually a median, not an average, but it's the same idea). So the location of a school's bubble both from left to right and from down to up tells us about growth and achievement for that school at the same time.

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Why are some bubbles bigger than others?

The larger a school in terms of total enrollment, the larger its bubble is. Note that total enrollment can be quite different from the number of kids that took CSAP, or the number of kids that have growth percentiles, or the number of kids included in school or district growth calculations.

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Some bubbles look really small - how many kids are in those bubbles?

Public data are always protected by only showing bubbles that contain 20 or more individuals' growth scores. For that reason, you will never see a bubble that represents fewer than 20 individuals. This practice protects the privacy of those individuals so that it would be impossible to know who exactly they were through some process of elimination.

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What is a scaled score?

A scaled score is an examinee's calculated total score on a test. The CSAP scales used by Colorado go roughly from 150-1000 points, although all parts of the scale are not available to all grades. Note that this is different from a "raw score," which would be a tally of the total number of questions on a test that an examinee answered correctly. The use of scaled scores makes it easier to interpret test results in many cases.

Scores can also be grouped into achievement levels. Achievement levels are the typical way CSAP scores are discussed and reported, because they collapse across grades and content areas, and because the cut points between them have been validated to have a particular meaning. For example, the label Proficient has a special status because it is the expressed goal of the state that Colorado's education system should strive to at the very least get all its children to this level of performance by the time they leave high school.

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What is Observed Growth?

Observed Growth is the median growth percentile for that group of students. You may hear it referred to as MGP, or simply as growth. We are using the term Observed to distinguish it from Adequate Growth (see next question).

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What is Adequate Growth?

Just as Observed Growth tells us what the level of growth was for a group of students, Adequate Growth tells us if that was enough growth or not.

More specifically, it tells us whether the observed level of growth was sufficient for those students to be, on average, on track to reach or maintain proficiency in that content area. It draws directly on the concepts of Catching Up and Keeping Up that you may already be familiar with. The Adequate Growth calculation combines Catch Up and Keep Up student data into a single number: for Catch Up students, it uses their Catch Up number, and for Keep Up students it uses their Keep Up number.

A student needing to Catch Up had a previous year score in that content area that was below proficient; the growth model tells us the amount of growth that would probably get this student scoring at the proficient level in the near future: his or her Catch Up number. Similarly, a student needing to KeepUp had a previous year score in that content area that was above the minimum required for a Proficient rating; the growth model tells us the amount of growth that would probably keep this student scoring at the proficient level in the near future: his or her Keep Up number. Combining all the Catch Up and Keep Up numbers for every student and taking the median (a kind of average) gives us the amount of growth that these students on the whole needed to be meeting state goals for student achievement.

If you go to the Terminology section of the following video tutorial, you will see a graphical discussion of adequate growth that will help you to understand more fully how it is calculated and what it means:

Tutorial

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Are all students with student growth percentiles included in the bubble for a district/school/other group?

Not exactly. In order to receive a student growth percentile in a CSAP content area, a student needs to have valid scores in that content area from two consecutive years, following a normal grade progression. Every student that matches these criteria will have a student growth percentile calculated, and educators who have access to the data can get those individual growth scores even when they are not represented in a bubble.

The growth level (a bubble's horizontal position in the plots) for a school or any subgroup of a school includes only those students who were enrolled in that school by Oct. 1 of that academic year.

The growth level (a bubble's horizontal position in the plots) for a district or any subgroup of a district only for those students who were enrolled in a school in that district by Oct. 1 of that academic year, or if they were continuously enrolled in that district for two consecutive years regardless of their Oct. 1 status.

Finally, bubbles are only displayed for groups that have 20 or more students with growth scores.

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What is the state proficiency line and how do I interpret it?

The state proficiency line is a way of understanding how a particular school's achievement level compares to that of all other schools in the state at that level. A school whose bubble appears below the state proficiency line has a lower percentage of students scoring Proficient and Advanced than the average of all schools in the state.

The line is calculated at the school level. Every elementary school in the state has a Percent Proficient/Advanced level. Those are all averaged together to get the state proficiency line level for that content area.

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Math, Reading and Writing used to be different colors. Why are all the bubbles blue now?

Making the subjects different colors was not a very useful distinction for most users, because they could only display one subject at a time anyway. In future versions of the software, colors may be used to make interesting distinctions among all the bubbles in one display instead.

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How do I find scores for a different content area or year?

The square labels in the upper right-hand corner of the application window toggle between math, reading, and writing. The year pull-down menu below that enables you to switch years. The year shown is the second calendar year of a given academic year, so 2010 refers to the 2009-2010 academic year.

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How come sometimes there is no state proficiency line?

The state proficiency line is displayed when only Elementary, Middle, or High School bubbles are displayed. It disappears when a mixture of school levels is displayed, or in the case of district or disaggregated group bubbles.

In the upper right-hand area of the application window, leave only one school level (Elementary, Middle, or High School) checked, and the state proficiency line should appear. If you drill into the school's data, looking at Student Groups, you will continue to see the line corresponding to the state proficiency line for that school level.

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How do I get demographic information about a school or district?

When mousing over a bubble, a pop-up window appears giving you some growth details as well as a "More Info" button. Click on that button, and you will get a mini-window with lots of demographic information about the school or district.

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I see bubbles that represent schools. How do I show bubbles that represent districts?

Mouse over any school bubble and choose View this school>Up to Districts. All the districts currently loaded in your display will be shown.

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I chose a district, but some of the schools in the district are grayed out in the right-hand navigation list. Why can't I see their data?

Public data are always protected by only showing bubbles that contain 20 or more individuals' growth scores. For that reason, you can never see a bubble that represents fewer than 20 individuals. This practice protects the privacy of those individuals so that it would be impossible to know who exactly they were through some process of elimination.

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If I check two different boxes in the Explore menu, does it find schools that match both of those criteria?

No, in this case the application displays schools that match either of those criteria. In some cases both the criteria might be matched, but the only way to find out which ones that might be is by toggling the check boxes one at a time and keeping track of your targets.

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I would like to share what I just saw with another person by e-mail. How do I point them to the data I am looking at?

Click on the Share button at the top of the bubble plots display. Then copy the short link address in the text box, and paste that into your e-mail.

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How can I label the bubbles in my view? Mousing over each one is not convenient, and the pdf of the bubbles is not useful without labels.

In the current version of the Colorado Growth Model, you can apply up to ten labels so that you can track those bubbles more easily. Just hit the Enable Bubble Labels button. You can move the labels around so that they appear just right for your set of bubbles.

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How can I remove schools from the display list?

You can only filter out a whole school level such as High Schools. You cannot remove one or more particular schools in this version of the application.

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The link provided does not take me to a school's website, it takes me to the district's website instead.

If a school does not supply CDE with an up-to-date website to link to, CDE substitutes the district's website instead. This generally enables users to easily navigate to a school's website, if there is one.

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