University of Oregon


The Center has two primary goals: (1) to conduct research that provides evidence about the natural developmental progress in achievement of students with and without disabilities, and (2) to examine the technical properties of alternative accountability models where student academic growth is used to describe and evaluate school effectiveness in serving students with disabilities. We use the summative statewide tests from four states (i.e., NC, AZ, OR, and PA) to compare outcomes using different analytic procedures, such as: comparing various multi-level growth models to the current and frequently-used models based on status/proficiency and transition matrices, as well as residual gain and value-added models.

The Center’s five-year program of growth modeling research reflects a coordinated series of five coherent studies, each addressing a number of important questions. We begin with a Cornerstone Study to document the natural developmental progress of students with disabilities and the effects of using various analytical models. We then complete a Multi-State Extension Study, where the growth models examined in the Cornerstone Study are replicated with three additional statewide summative datasets. We use an Interim Assessment Study to document natural developmental progress when the measurement occurs more frequently than once at the end of the year. We also complete a Multiple Measures Validation Study where growth modeling used with the state datasets is analyzed concurrent with covariate measures that provide teachers other information about students’ knowledge and skills that may be useful in changing the trajectory of growth. Finally, we propose an Alternate Assessment Study to examine the achievement growth of students with significant cognitive disabilities using partner states’ performance measures.

The Center’s team of expert investigators is supported by a national advisory panel of leaders in measurement, testing, accountability, and special education as well as partnerships with several professional organizations dedicated to advancing assessment and accountability practices for all students.