Abstract

As test-based educational accountability has moved to the forefront of national and state education policy, so has the desire for better measures of school performance. No Child Left Behind's (NCLB) status and safe harbor measures have been criticized for being unfair and unreliable, respectively. In response to such criticism, in 2005 the federal government announced the Growth Model Pilot Program, which permits states to use projection models (a type of growth model) in their accountability systems. This article uses historical longitudinal data from a large school district to empirically show the inaccuracy of one state's projection model, to demonstrate how projection models are very similar to NCLB's original status measure, and to contrast projection models with value-added models. As policy makers debate the reauthorization of NCLB, this research can provide guidance on ways to improve the current measurement of school performance.

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