Note: Information on this page is subject to change. Applicants should always refer to the performance measure instructions published with the NOFO. Grantees should refer to the performance measure instructions for the grant year in which they were funded.
Number of students with improved academic performance in literacy and/or math.
Goal 1: Education: K-12 Success
Definition of Key Terms
Students: Those reported in either ED2 or ED4A.
Improved academic performance in literacy and/or math: as measured by an improved demonstration of skill/knowledge at post-test as compared to pre-test (gain score) using a standardized test/instrument.
Standardized test/instrument: has been validated externally on a randomly-selected population of students.
How to Calculate/ Measure/ Collect Data
Programs will report the number of students from ED2 or ED4A who:
(1) achieved the "gain" or amount of progress that was approved at grant award, and/or
(2) performed on grade level if the post-test only method is being used.
Amount of progress required:
The amount of progress required to count as "improved academic performance" must be specified in the approved grant application. If the program is using different tests for different groups of children, then different amounts of progress may be specified by test. Some tests may specify different amounts of progress based on the pre-test results.
Many standardized test instruments provide expected levels of improvement for particular starting levels. Those would be the most appropriate improvement levels for programs to select. Only programs that demonstrate they are serving below grade level students and that demonstrate a sufficient reason for not conducting a pre-test/post-test may request a "post-test only" assessment option. In these specific cases, only a post-test is required to show those previously below-grade-level students are performing at grade level after the program.
Programs should select a standardized test that: (1) measures the types of student skills/knowledge the program is trying to improve through its efforts, (2) is appropriate for the grade level, (3) has demonstrated validity or reliability for the population they are serving, and (4) is compatible with, and acceptable to, the school where the program is providing services (different tests may be used at different schools).
Regarding the use of state standardized tests administered by the school:
State standardized tests generally should NOT be used as it is expected that they will not be sufficiently tailored to the material taught, may involve long delays before the data became available, and the child's classroom teacher would have the primary effect on these scores. However, programs may request to use the state, standardized test but need to demonstrate that it is appropriate for their circumstances.(NOTE: These tests may not be used unless an exception has been granted.) These tests have the advantage of already being in place and having an infrastructure to support their use, and students would have taken these tests anyway. State standardized tests can only be used if they are administered at the end of the prior year and then again at the end of the current year. (This will not be the case for all grade levels.)
Obtaining test scores from school systems:
For programs not themselves administering the test, the program will need to have some form of agreement, such as an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the school to ensure that data for the needed children can be secured. Data are needed on the group of children you are serving, but not on individual children. Requesting data in this way is not likely to violate FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
You are not likely to be able to count children who were in a different school district in the year prior to service or transfer away from the school during the school year. See the Education Focus Area Instrument Packet for a suggested method of requesting the data your program needs.
Regarding the use of other standardized tests: The test should be administered to the students participating in the program before they begin service and again near the end of the service delivery period. Some tests suggest measuring improvement at more points during the year. Programs should follow the instructions provided by the test they have selected.
The National Center on Response to Intervention website
of the U.S. Department of Education provides some information about assessment tools (they call them progress monitoring tools). Note that these are not specifically recommended, nor are these the only instruments that programs could use but the site provides good information about how to consider which tool your program might choose.