Students across the United States take state assessments each year to measure their academic achievement. In Tennessee this is called the TNReady. However, in Nashville they take another assessment which is called NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (called MAP for short). This informs educators about how much progress each student has made that school year.
While scores on these assessments are important too much can be read into them. They only mark one specific time in the school year. Another method is growth scores which tells how much a student has learned over any period of time. This is used to measure how far a student has gone in their education, not if they’ve arrived at their destination like the first method.
MAP is now being used in over 7,400 schools and districts around the world. Rocketship Education is a charter school system that also uses this way of assessing student progress. They started using it when they opened their very first school in 2007. They say it is a great way of measuring progress and how much a student’s learning has grown.
Research into poverty has pretty clearly shown that children who are born in into poor families enter school behind the other students and are never able to catch up. Nashville is a school district where many children come from low-income families. Because of this there is a big achievement gap between students from poor families and those from wealthier families.
Rocketship Education has been working to close this gap ever since they were founded. Most of their students come from poor backgrounds but at this nonprofit’s schools they are able to catch up and match some of the best student assessment results in the nation. The chief executive officer of this nonprofit, Preston Smith, says he believes in their model so much, and has seen so many positive results from it, they he enrolled his own children in their local Rocketship Education school.
Rocketship Education now has 13 charter schools in the Bay Area of California, three in Nashville, two in Milwaukee, and three in Washington D.C.