February 23, 2024

Data sgp is an open source software package that facilitates the process of converting growth percentiles and percentile projections from longitudinal educational assessment data into statistical growth plots. This is a valuable tool for teachers and administrators as they evaluate student achievement and progress compared to academic peers. The bulk of time required to run these analyses is spent on data preparation and once this step has been completed, analyses are relatively straightforward.

The data sgp package runs on the R software environment (free and available for Windows, OSX and Linux) so it requires familiarity with this platform in order to be used effectively. However, unlike the more complex statistical packages like SAS and SPSS, the data sgp package is simple to use, intuitive and requires only a minimal amount of prior experience using the platform in order to produce accurate results.

A major challenge for educators and state departments is providing data that allows comparisons to be made between students in different school districts, schools, classrooms and grade levels. To achieve this goal the data sgp package provides several formats of data that can be used to compare student performance. The most common format is the Student Growth Percentile which translates a student’s MCAS scores into a percentage of his or her grade level peers. This percentage is then reported on a scale from 1 to 99. A higher number indicates greater relative MCAS score growth than a lower one.

Another important feature of the sgpData set is the instructor lookup table. This allows an administrator to associate a teacher with the test record of each individual student. This is especially useful when evaluating the performance of multiple instructors over several years. The instructor information provided by this lookup table is located in the sgpData_INSTRUCTOR_NUMBER data set.

In addition to presenting a variety of reports that can be used to compare students within a single district or between districts, the data sgp package can also be used to identify the growth rate for each individual student over a series of testing windows. This information can then be used to identify teachers whose students are making the most progress in their learning and which students are not receiving adequate instruction. This information can also be utilized in educator evaluations as a component of the median student growth percentageile (mSGP) that will count for 5% of principal and AP/VP, and 10% of teacher evaluation scores for 2022-2023. More details on how mSGP is calculated can be found in our mSGP overview article.