Superintendent's Memo #174-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

June 24, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Growth Measure Professional Development Opportunities

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 requires the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to develop a measure of student growth in reading and mathematics based on state assessments and to provide these data to teachers no later than September 30, 2011.  To comply with this requirement, VDOE has worked with nationally recognized experts to calculate student growth percentiles in reading for grades 4 through 8 and mathematics for grades 4 through 8 and Algebra I through grade 9.  In September 2011, VDOE will be providing school divisions with student-level growth data for teachers of reading and mathematics where growth data are available.   The assessment data will be linked to teachers using the data provided in VDOE’s Master Schedule Collection.

In November 2010, VDOE hosted meetings to provide stakeholders with information about the growth measure and to provide them with an opportunity to give the Department feedback on the approach.  During these and subsequent meetings, stakeholders across the Commonwealth of Virginia have asked the Department to provide training for educators to increase division leadership teams’ knowledge of the student growth measure and how it can be used as a tool to inform decision making.

In response, VDOE has partnered with The Center for Educational Partnerships at Old Dominion University (TCEP) and the Center for Innovative Technologies (CIT) to develop and deliver professional development workshops designed to increase division leadership teams’ knowledge of the student growth measure and how it can be used as a tool to inform decision making.  The first training sessions will be provided via regional workshops.

Each school division is invited to identify up to four individuals to attend one training session.  Potential staff members who might participate include:

Registration is required for participants to attend.  To register and obtain additional information about each workshop, please visit:

Workshops are planned for the dates and locations below.  Each workshop will run from approximately 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.; exact start times may vary by location.  Lunch will be provided on-site.

Tuesday, October 4: Wytheville
Wytheville Meeting Center
333 Community Boulevard
Wytheville, VA 24382

Thursday, October 6: Charlottesville
Comfort Inn Monticello
2097 Inn Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Tuesday, October 11: Williamsburg
Holiday Inn Williamsburg-Historic Gateway
515 Bypass Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185

Wednesday, October 12: Fredericksburg
University of Mary Washington (Stafford Campus)
121 University Boulevard
Fredericksburg, VA 22406

VDOE and the TCEP team are finalizing learning objectives.  To help school divisions understand the intent of the training, preliminary learning objectives are listed below.

Preliminary Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the professional development, participants will be able to:
  • Explain in conceptual terms how student growth percentiles are derived from Standards of Learning (SOL) scores in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Explain to a variety of stakeholders (principals, teachers, school board members, parents) what a student growth percentile is and how it differs from other methods used to measure student achievement.
  • Interpret examples of student growth information as it will be provided in fall 2011.
  • Articulate the relationship between variables traditionally associated with student and school achievement and student growth data.
  • Critically evaluate specially generated case studies that highlight the use of growth data in classroom-, school- and division-level decision making.
  • Select appropriate instructional strategies that can be used to provide professional development on the growth data to staff members within the participant’s own division.

If you have questions about the workshops or the growth measure, please contact Dr. Deborah Jonas, executive director for research and strategic planning, Virginia Department of Education via e-mail at

If you have any questions regarding workshop arrangements, please contact Missy Bell with CIT by phone at (703) 689-3027 or by e-mail at