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Understanding Projections

Student projections indicate how a student is likely to score if the student makes the amount of growth that was typical for students who took an assessment in the most recent prior year available. By considering how all other students performed on the assessment in relation to their individual testing histories, the model calculates a projection for each student.

Interpreting projection probabilities can help you use the data to inform instructional choices. Think about projection probabilities similar to weather forecasts probabilities. If the forecast says there is an 80% chance of rain today, you might take an umbrella as you leave the house. In other words, the probability of an outcome informs your actions.

Student projections function in much the same way. If a student has an 80% probability of reaching at least the selected selected performance level, then the student is likely to succeed in scoring above that mark. Similarly, if a student has a 20% chance of reaching the selected selected performance level the student may be at risk of not reaching the performance level due to a low probability percentage. As a result, you can provide a sustained intervention throughout the school year to increase the student's chances of success. Students with different probabilities have different academic needs. If a student's projection report indicates a low probability of success, and educators respond by providing additional support and interventions, the student may outperform the projection.

There are no set thresholds for determining which students are at risk for not reaching the selected performance level or benchmark. However, a 50% probability indicates a student may or may not be at risk. Students with probabilities below 50% are at risk but there is no set threshold to determine how far above 50% a student must be to have confidence in their likelihood of success. However, these thresholds can be a helpful starting point for considering how to interpret the probabilities. .

If the student experiences less than average growth, the student is likely to fall short of the projection. However, if appropriate and effective instruction, supports, interventions, and enrichment opportunities are provided, and the student makes more than average growth as a result, they are likely to meet or outperform the projection.

Finally, projections are not intended to be used solely for the purpose of identifying students who are at risk for not reaching proficiency. They can be used for a wide range of purposes with a wide range of students, from low-achieving to high-achieving. Some additional uses for projections include:

  • Placing students into courses
  • Placing students with teachers
  • Identifying students who need a sustained intervention
  • Identifying students who would benefit from enrichment opportunities
  • Planning for differentiated instruction in the classroom
  • Planning for students' college readiness

When using projections for any purpose, it is important to use them along with other data and information you have about each student.