MAP Testing (Measures of Academic Progress)
Frequently Asked Questions – October 2012
1. What is a MAP assessment?
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments are computer adaptive tests that dynamically adjust to a student’s performance level. Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is the non-profit partner that provides the MAP assessment tool. More information on NWEA and MAP can be found at www.nwea.org.
2. How many years has the Germantown School District administered the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments?
MAP assessments began in Germantown in 2011 as a pilot in reading. Each grade level 3 through 5 are currently taking the reading assessment three times a year (Fall, Winter, and Spring) and mathematics was introduced in the Spring of 2012 and language arts will be in the Spring of 2013.
3. What is the purpose of the MAP assessment?
The MAP assessment, in conjunction with other student performance information, provides the teaching staff with valuable student data to inform instruction. MAP assessments reflect the instructional level of each student, can diagnose individual learning and instructional need, and measure growth over time.
4. When will my child take the MAP assessments and how long does each assessment take?
MAP assessments takes place during the fall, winter, and spring of each school year. Each assessment takes approximately one hour to complete; however, the assessments are not timed. Students have as much time as they need to complete them.
5. How will I find out my child’s scores?
A Student Progress Report with your child’s score information, reported as RIT scores, will be sent out after the winter and spring of this school year. Information on interpreting your child’s scores is included in this report.
6. What is a RIT score?
A RIT score is the overall number given at the end of a MAP assessment to indicate a student’s instructional level. The RIT score shows how your student performed on the particular day your student took the MAP assessment and is independent of grade level. The RIT score represents the skills and concepts a student is working on right now. The Northwest Evaluation Association, www.nwea.org , provides a resource of these skills and concepts by RIT score correlated specifically to the Common Core State Standards.
NWEA assessments use the RIT measurement scale because it has proven to be exceptionally stable and valid over time. The scale is based on the same modern test theory that informs the SAT, Graduate Record Exam, and the Law School Admission Test. This theory aligns student achievement levels with item difficulties on the same scale. The scale used is divided into equal parts, like centimeters on a ruler. The parts are called RITs, which is short for Rasch Unit (after the test theory’s founder, Danish statistician Georg Rasch). http://www.nwea.org/support/article/532
7. What information is included on the Student Progress Report?
The Student Progress Report shows a graph for each subject in which your child has taken a MAP assessment. Included on each graph is the subject, assessment date, session, grade level, RIT score, district average, norm group average, goal performance descriptors and lexile range. For more information on lexiles, visit www.lexile.com.
The subject is listed at the top of each graph. Vertically towards the bottom of each graph is the date your child took each MAP assessment. Below the date is the session, F for fall or S for spring along with the year. The left side of the graph shows the RIT scores in 10 point bands. The top of the graph shows the grade level (G#). Each point corresponding to each date represents your child’s RIT score, the district’s average RIT score or the norm group average RIT score. The RIT Scores are connected into lines to indicate trends and to allow for comparisons.
8. What do the lines on the graph mean?
The darkest line connects your child’s RIT scores over time. The dashed portion of the line represents your child’s projected growth in the following twelve months. The district average line represents the average scores of students in the Germantown School District at your child’s grade level. The norm group line represents the average scores for students in the norming study across the country that is in the same grade level and took the test at the same time of year (fall or spring) as your child. The lines are constructed by connecting each RIT score or average per term and are shown for comparison.
9. Why didn’t I get a graph on my child’s Student Progress Report?
Students taking a MAP assessment for the first time do not have two data points necessary to create a graphical representation of scores over time. If this is your child’s first MAP assessment, you will receive your child’s scores in a different format. Refer to the explanatory notes section to help you interpret the score information.
10. What does high, avg, low refer to under the goals performance area?
The goals performance area lists the Wisconsin state standard categories of each subject: math, reading, or language. The descriptors of high, hiavg, avg, loavg, low for each category, reflect how your child performed in that category as compared to the national norm averages that are aligned to Wisconsin state standards. Keep in mind, these descriptors are national norm average comparisons; they are not district average comparisons.
11. What if my child’s scores wend down from the last assessment to this assessment?
Focus on the overall trajectory of the line over time. Children have off assessment days and a score could be reflective of an off day if it does not correlate with the other student performance indicators a teacher has collected for your child. Also, declines may occur over the summer. You may prefer to look at the scores from the same time of year, for instance fall to fall or spring to spring. Look at these scores over time for a general trend. If your child’s scores continue to decline for two or more assessments, please talk with your child’s teacher about your concerns. For a visual representation trend line over time, refer to the link Understanding MAP Scores at www.germantownschools.org, select ….
Many indicators exist to measure a student’s learning such as classroom assessments, standardized assessments, grades, portfolios, inventories, rating scales, observations, performance tasks, etc. These should all be considered when looking at your child’s learning and overall achievement. It is very important to look at the whole picture of your child’s performance rather than focus on any one particular assessment event.
12. How are Germantown School District teachers using MAP information?
Our district continues to understand and apply MAP data to inform instruction. Germantown staff attended their first professional training in October 2012. Sustained training and support continue and are focused on the use of MAP assessment information to inform instruction, set student growth goals and impact student achievement.
13. What can I do to help my child be successful in school?
- Keep the lines of communication open with your child’s teachers.
- Help your child set goals for their learning.
- Encourage your child to complete all assignments both at home and during the school day. Look over your child’s assignment notebook.
- Have a family routine that encourages a time and a place for homework.
- Ask your child to explain what he or she is doing when completing homework and school projects.
- Encourage your child to do their school work independently. Children need to practice on their own to achieve mastery of a skill.
14. What is the difference between the state test (WKCE or WAASwD), the MAP test, and the classroom observation?
A summative assessment, like the WKCE, presents all students in a particular grade level with the same test. The test has been created to measure expected learning for a specific grade. Results from the state test indicate whether or not a student has met the grade level state standards for their grade.
A benchmark assessment, like MAP, is meant to measure current individual strengths and weaknesses, determine if learning has occurred, and show student growth over time. The test is adaptive and unique to each child. A MAP test presents questions based on the student’s ability to answer them not based on grade level expectations. The results can help teachers identify areas of learning where an individual or group of students can make the greatest academic growth regardless of performance levels.
A formative assessment, like classroom observations, are meant to occur during the learning process in order to provide information on student needs, next steps for instruction, student feedback, and provide students ownership of their learning journey. This information is intended to be non-graded, focused on improving student learning and able to provide a student with where they are in their learning and what steps are necessary to continue towards learning success.
A balance of student assessment system uses summative, benchmark, and formative practices to promote increased student learning and progress.