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Student Growth Score Exclusion Guidance

This guidance is intended to provide information to Michigan educators for the exemption of student growth data within educator evaluations consistent with that goal. Rigorous, transparent, and fair educator evaluations should facilitate a continuous improvement process for educators in alignment with school and district improvement processes. State law (380.1249(2)(i)) specifies that Michigan evaluation systems may allow for exemption of student growth data.

380.1249(2)(i) The performance evaluation system may allow for exemption of student growth data for a particular pupil for a school year upon the recommendation of the school administrator conducting the annual year-end evaluation or his or her designee and approval of the school district superintendent or his or her designee, intermediate superintendent or his or her designee, or chief administrator of the public school academy, as applicable. 

Exemptions from student growth data within educator evaluations should be based on exceptional circumstances and should allow for the inclusion of student growth data consistent with 380.1249(2). If student growth scores are exempted from educator evaluations, the exemption rationale should be documented along with the express permissive agreement from the evaluator, the educator being evaluated, and superintendent or designee. 

Measurement of student growth within educator evaluations provides an indication of the impact of instruction over a pre-defined instructional interval. Unique circumstances may cause student growth scores to inaccurately reflect the impact of a teacher’s instruction, justifying exclusion from educator evaluation rating determinations. Some examples of situations that may cause student growth scores to reflect an inaccurate indication of teacher instructional impact may be:

  • Student attendance rates
    • Non-exclusive example: A student who attends less than 80% of the instructional days than the mean days of peer attendance.
  • Student mobility
    • Non-exclusive example: A student moves into the district from another district in March of that school year.
    • Non-exclusive example: A student leaves the school in November and moves back in April.
  • Teacher mobility
    • Non-exclusive example: A teacher is hired and begins instruction in spring of a school year.
  • Exceptional student-related circumstances
    • Non-exclusive example: A student experiences a traumatic brain injury that affects her or his capacity to accurately demonstrate skill growth on a given set of assessments. o Non-exclusive example: A student who becomes homeless and/or experiences trauma that significantly affects their performance.
  • Invalid test result
    • Non-exclusive example: A student is observed copying answers from another student to invalidate his or her test result.
    • Non-exclusive example: A student finishes a state assessment in less than 15 minutes and is observed to appear to be randomly guessing at answers.

School districts, intermediate school districts, and public-school academies are encouraged to develop explicit student growth score exemption policies and practices consistent with 380.1249 to ensure fair and transparent educator evaluation practices. MDE recommends that districts use a form for consistent and transparent use to document student growth scores exemption rationale. The form should provide for the following information: exemption rationale, signature of teacher, signature of the evaluator, and signature of the superintendent or designee. MDE recommends that test administration environment, test score validation, student roster validation, and teacher roster validation procedures align with procedures described within the MDE Assessment Integrity Guide.