How to Make the Most of ETS Data

For students and teachers to make the most of student growth data, it’s important to understand how to use it. Student growth percentiles (SGP) show how a student performs relative to the performance of their academic peers nationwide. For example, a student with an SGP of 75 means they’re growing faster than 75 percent of their academic peers. SGP allows teachers and administrators to see if students are improving or not, so they can adjust instruction accordingly.

SGP scores can be calculated for any window of assessments. For instance, teachers may want to calculate SGP for a spring assessment, fall assessment, winter assessment, or summer assessment. The results will then tell them how a student performed relative to their peers in that window of assessment, and the resulting SGP score shows them whether the student is growing more or less than expected.

In addition to SGP, the sgpData set provides exemplars of how to structure data for the lower level studentGrowthPercentiles and studentGrowthProjections functions. This includes sgpData_INSTRUCTOR_NUMBER, an anonymized lookup table that provides instructor information associated with each student test record. This table is critical for teachers because it enables them to assign multiple instructors for one student across a content area during a year.

The sgpData_STUDENTS_PERCENTILE_TABLE is also a critical data set that allows teachers to compare their students’ current performances with those of students in other schools, districts, states, and countries — helping them determine whether their students are performing better or worse than others. This table also reveals trends over time by showing how a student’s current performance is changing relative to past performances.

A typical SGP score ranges between about 36 and 64. Students and groups with a SGP above or below this range are unlikely to have educationally meaningful differences.

Those interested in learning more about student growth data can download the full data sgp set from the ETS website. The file is available in both PDF and Excel format. The PDF version of the sgpData set contains an instructional guide to help educators analyze and use the data. The Excel version of the sgpData set is a worksheet that can be used to create reports. This worksheet includes a worksheet for each assessment, an overview sheet that summarizes the information in each report, and worksheets to calculate SGP for individual assessments or for a group of assessments. The worksheets can be edited in Microsoft Excel to suit a particular user’s needs. This tool can be particularly helpful for schools that do not have access to professional development resources on SGP analysis. The worksheets can also be customized to include only the assessments a school or district has administered. This way, teachers can focus their instructional efforts on the areas where the most improvement is needed. The worksheets can be saved for future reference as well. The worksheets are a great tool to have on hand throughout the year, especially during times of transition or new initiatives.