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NWEA MAP Test FAQs

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1. What is MAP?

MAP tests are computer adaptive achievement assessments in Mathematics, Reading, Language Usage, and Science.

2. What are computer adaptive tests?

MAP dynamically adapts to a student’s responses – as they take the test.  Answer a question correctly and the test presents a more challenging item. Miss a question, and MAP offers a simpler item. In this way, the test narrows in on a student’s learning level, engaging them with content that allows them to succeed.

3. What MAP tests are available?

Students are assigned to take MAP based on grade level, MAP for Primary Grades (MPG), MAP 2-5, or MAP 6+.

4. What is the purpose of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Test?

MAP is a norm-referenced measure of student growth over time. NWEA MAP scores, joined with other data points, provide detailed, actionable data about where each child is on his or her unique learning path. MAP assessments differ from other data sources used by schools to inform instruction by being nationally normed, by using NWEA MAP test scores to track student progress throughout a year and across school years, and by being linked to software tools which can assist teachers and administrators in planning instruction.

5. What are the uses of the MAP test scores?

MAP tests are based on a continuum of skills in Mathematics, Language Usage, Reading, and Science from low skill levels to high skill levels. NWEA MAP scores help teachers identify the instructional level of the student and also provide context for determining where each student is performing in relation to local or state standards and national norms. MAP test score reports allow teachers to better target instruction based on students’ strengths and needs.

6. What features does MAP for Primary Grades (MPG) have that make it a unique kind of assessment?

MPG assessments meet the unique needs of early learners by utilizing advanced technology to display interactive visuals and audio for beginning readers. For example, the computer automatically plays audio instructions to the student, eliminating the challenges of early learners who cannot read. Students are able to use a mouse to perform an action.

7. What is the MAP testing window for schools?

In order to track growth during the school year, students in grades 1 through 8 are assessed two or three times: namely, in the beginning (Fall), middle (school-based decision, Winter), and end of the school year (Spring).

8. How is MAP progress measured?

MAP assessments are used to measure a student’s growth in Mathematics, Reading, Language Usage, and Science. The Fall assessment gathers a baseline NWEA MAP test score. The Winter assessment measures progress. The Spring assessment measures the students’ growth to that point. The scale used to measure a student’s progress is called the RIT scale, short for Rasch Unit (Rasch unIT). The RIT scale is an equal-interval scale much like inches on a yardstick. It is used to chart a student’s academic growth from year to year. The RIT is not a measure of mastery or a grade, rather it provides information about what a student is ready to learn. Based upon the reading RIT score, students see a variety of texts during the assessment, which range in complexity. If students read and understand texts in these levels, a lexile range is calculated based upon their performance. Lexile is one of many ways to measure text complexity.

9. What is a RIT Scale?

The RIT Scale is a curriculum scale that uses individual item difficulty values to estimate student achievement. An advantage of the RIT scale is that it can relate the numbers on the scale directly to the difficulty of items on the tests. In addition, the RIT scale is an equal interval scale. Equal interval means that the difference between scores is the same regardless of whether a student is at the top, bottom, or middle of the RIT scale, and it has the same meaning regardless of grade level.

10. What is a Lexile measurement?

Lexile is a unit for measuring text difficulty that is linked to the RIT score. Visit lexile.com to enter Lexile Range and generate appropriate reading lists. For students in grades K-2, please refer parents to the developmental levels. Other considerations for choosing appropriate text include your child’s interests, themes and content of the books, and the purpose for the books. The Lexile scale helps identify reading material that is at an appropriate difficulty level for an individual student. It is important to keep in mind that Lexile does not evaluate genre, theme, content, or interest. Even though a student might be able to read books at a certain Lexile, the content or theme of the text may not be appropriate for that particular student because of his or her age or developmental level.

11. How do MAP Test Scores relate to student placement in gifted and talented classes?

MAP test scores are not generally used as a sole determinant for G/T placement, but the data from the NWEA MAP assessment may be included as part of the placement review process along with other data points, such as student work samples and other assessment data.

Look at the MAP Test Scores Gifted Chart below for NWEA MAP scores that could help identify a  G/T student. *This chart is a rough indicator of test scores for a gifted student and reflects the 95th – 84th percentile.

Grade Mathematics Language Reading
K 160-152 n/a 157-149
1 181-172 n/a 177-169
2 196-188 200-190 197-187
3 211-202 213-203 214-203
4 223-214 222-212 224-213
5 234-224 228-219 231-221
6 241-231 233-224 237-227
7 249-238 237-227 241-231
8 256-244 240-230 246-235
9 259-246 242-232 250-238

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