5 Ways to Measure Student Growth for Better Instruction

One of the most crucial aspects of driving continuous school improvement is ensuring students are making academic progress and learning new skills. 

The use of student growth measurement allows educators to assess whether or not their students are making progress, to pinpoint specific areas of strength and weakness, and to adjust their teaching methods accordingly. 

To better inform classroom practice, this article will explore multiple ways of measuring student growth.

Coaching conversations are structured and purposeful interactions between a school leader and a teacher with the goal of improving instruction and increasing student learning outcomes.

The following sections will discuss eight key coaching conversation areas and how to implement them in schools.

Formative Assessment

One of the most essential methods to gauge students’ growth is through formal assessment. Ongoing assessments like these help teachers fine-tune their teaching strategies based on what they learn about their students. Some examples of formative assessments include classroom discussions, quick quizzes, and short writing tasks. 

Teachers can learn what their students know and what they need to focus on through formative evaluations. Teachers can better meet the requirements of their students by using formative assessments on a regular basis to monitor progress and adjust curriculum accordingly. 

For instance, a teacher may use a formative assessment technique such as class discussion to ascertain whether or not students have grasped a new concept. As a consequence of the discussion, the instructor can identify any areas of confusion or lack of understanding and adjust the lesson plan accordingly. 

The class’s development throughout a unit might also be evaluated through brief tests administered by the instructor. By providing instant feedback, students can address any areas of confusion before moving on to new material.

Summative Assessment

Assessments given at the end of a unit are known as summative assessments, and they are used to measure how much students have learned over the unit. During the course of a lesson, teachers should use formative evaluations to gauge students’ progress and offer constructive criticism. Because of this, they allow educators to gauge a student’s level of understanding in a certain area. 

Summative assessments include both the end-of-course and midterm tests, as well as the final exam. Summative evaluations might also be in the form of standardized tests. On the other hand, this strategy can backfire if students solely care about passing final exams and hence prioritize cramming above learning. 

The plan would backfire if this happened. Students may do well on examinations as a result, but they may not be able to apply what they’ve learned in the real world or remember what they’ve learned in the long run.


Another tool for gauging student growth is portfolios. In comparison to traditional assessments like midterms and finals, students’ portfolios allow for a more in-depth analysis of their work and growth over the year. One advantage of using them is that they allow you to collect different types of work that demonstrate learning and promote introspection. 

Teachers that make use of portfolios can more accurately assess their students’ strengths and weaknesses and better equip them for success in higher education and the workforce. Students in a high school English class, for instance, may compile a portfolio of their best work during the year. This work may include essays, short stories, and poetry. 

This portfolio will allow the teacher to keep track of the student’s writing progress over time and offer targeted feedback. 

Students can learn more about their writing abilities by analyzing their past work and selecting representative samples for portfolios. The act of deciding what to include in their portfolios allows them to do this.

Peer Review

Student-to-student feedback is another method for fostering learning and development. Peer review, in which students give one other constructive criticism and suggestions for improving their work, can have a significant impact on academic performance. 

The review approach promotes discussion and results in a deeper comprehension of course material. 

Students in a creative writing class, for instance, might have peer review sessions in which they read and remark on one another’s short pieces. 

By critiquing one another’s writing and offering constructive criticism, students not only hone their own critical thinking skills but also gain exposure to new writing techniques they might incorporate into their own work. 

Collaborating in a group strengthens bonds among classmates and inspires individuals to take an active role in their own education.

Progress Monitoring Technology

Tracking and reporting features in technology-based learning tools quantify student growth. These capabilities are especially useful for subjects that require constant monitoring. 

Thinkster Math, IXL, and Khan Academy all provide adaptive learning programs that are tailored to the individual learner based on their prior knowledge and ability. They capture data in real time, allowing teachers to track and report student growth in real time, which not only saves time but also improves instructional strategy decision-making. 

However, relying solely on technology to track progress may cause one to overlook the importance of interactions between teachers and students as well as individualized feedback, both of which are necessary for developing a more profound understanding of the subject matter and catering to the specific needs of specific students.


Finally, monitoring student growth to enhance lessons allows teachers to determine the student’s present ability levels, determine where the student is strong and where they need more assistance, and adjust how they teach to help students learn more. 

It is critical to employ a variety of tools and approaches while measuring student development. Formative and summative assessments, portfolios, peer evaluation, and technological methods for tracking progress are examples of these. 

It is up to a school’s leadership to put these measures in place in order to collect data for the goal of measuring pupils’ growth. Educators can use data analysis to improve the quality of their lessons and the overall learning experiences they provide to their students.

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