Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Hongli Li

Second Advisor

Dr. Tim Sass

Third Advisor

Dr. Audrey Leroux

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Kevin Fortner


Under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all public schools are required to include student growth measures in addition to student achievement in the school accountability system. The two most popular growth models that are widely used by states are Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) and Value-added models (VAMs). Growth models are designed to capture the quality of a school in promoting student learning. According to current research, there are indications of disadvantaged schools that are underrepresented in the growth metric compared to advantaged schools. The purpose of this dissertation is to fill in two gaps in the literature: first, current research on growth modeling is mostly focused on elementary and middle schools. This dissertation is an extension of current research to evaluate growth measures used in high schools to provide new evidence on the utility of growth models. Secondly, this dissertation assessed the impact of school demographic variables on model outputs. In other words, it identified which types of schools would receive a different result that is proportional to the student composition within a school. The results showed that growth measures have lower correlations with school poverty compared to achievement measures, which levels the playing field for disadvantaged schools to an extent. However, there are meaningful differences between models in term of the representation of disadvantaged schools in the top quartile of the growth measures.

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