Can you explain student growth along with what is considered adequate growth?

Depending on the particular measure (and the construct being targeted, e.g., passage fluency, math, etc.) average growth (across all students at a given grade-level) varies and further, average growth based on percentile rankings from the norming group of 2000 students for each measure/grade (e.g., those students performing at the 10th, 25th, 50th percentiles) also varies. What we report in tables are the raw scores associated with respective percentile ranks for both benchmarks ( and progress-monitoring measures ( These raw score/percentile pairing are also plotted on individual student graphs once benchmarks/progress-monitoring measures are taken and in the system.

“Normal growth” can be inferred based on those raw score/percentile pairings…with the caveat that when students are performing below grade-level expectations (e.g., well below the 50th percentile), we likely don’t want normal/average growth, but rather higher growth rates so that they begin catching up with their peers over some amount of reasonable time. In other words, we likely want a student performing at the 10th percentile to make higher than average growth on a given measure, so that over time that higher rate of growth relative to peers jumps them off the 10th percentile “track” (and moves them closer to performance at or near the 50th percentile).

One thing teachers can do, once a student’s current level of performance is known and whether or not they will receive additional instruction/intervention and be progress-monitored, is to look at those tables I cite above and perhaps the student’s individual graph to determine reasonable goal(s) for the student. Reasonable, based on where they are performing now, the resources (e.g., time/interventions) available to you and the student, and reasonable with respect to the national norms.

I give a specific example of how this might work below:

After benchmarking, you might compare the benchmark percentile rank with the student’s progress-monitoring rank and then decide you want a student who had a raw score of 118 words correct/minute (wcpm) on the fall Passage Reading Fluency benchmark (18th percentile rank) to attain the 50th percentile score by the spring (for this hypothetical student, the 50th percentile has been determined to be reasonable given the amount of time and resources we have). Generally speaking, you would count the number of weeks the students are in school (from a calendar) and related the Fall, Winter, and Spring benchmark scores closest to when students took their initial test. General benchmark dates for easyCBM are as follows: Fall – Sept 15th, Winter – Jan 15th, and Spring – May 15th.

Let’s consider a 6th grade student who took the Passage Reading Fluency benchmark screener on October 30th and received a score of 100. By looking at the Progress Monitoring Scoring Guidelines/individual graph, and comparing their score to other 6th graders at that time of year, we can see that this student would ideally have had a raw score of 141 (50th percentile score at fall benchmark for Grade 6). Thus, the winter goal for this student would be 158 wcpm. and the spring goal would be 166 wcpm. In other words, the student will have to score 40 wcpm higher by Jan. 15th, and then 48 wcpm higher by May 15th to reach a goal of performing at the 50th percentile based on associated raw scores by the end of the school year.

For planning a strategy of improvement for your student, you will need to consider when you want them to reach their goal. If by taking their benchmark test on October 30th you want your student to reach their winter benchmark goal of 158 wcpm (by Jan. 15th), you have 8 weeks for them to improve 40 wpm, or about 5 wcpm per week. Looking over the longer-term, you are looking for a spring benchmark goal of 166 wcpm (by May 15th), which means you have 23 weeks to see a 48 wcpm improvement, or about 2 wcpm per week growth in raw score over the school year.

The easyCBM Teacher Deluxe and District systems also have a Goal Setting feature that can be found on the Reports page > Individuals tab. We offer a couple of short tutorial videos related to both the science of progress-monitoring and goal setting within the specific context of easyCBM (accessible from that same page and from the following links: and Basically, the tool helps you plan out a reasonable goal for a student that will be plotted for students and help teachers monitor progress (growth) toward that goal.

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