Toepfer Talk - MAP Testing

Why all the testing and what exactly is MAP testing?

It seems to be a legitimate question from concerned parents and students alike, and one that I would like to address with information on how this testing is used to help drive instruction.

In the elementary, 3rd-6th grade students take the NWEA MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) test twice a year in the areas of reading, language, math, and science.  Second-grade students are tested in reading, language, and math. We block of four days in a row in the first couple of weeks after school has started in August. Students take the test from 8:00-9:30 a.m. before resuming their regular daily schedule.  Most students take approximately one hour to complete each test, but there is no time limit given.  

MAP testing is done on the computer and it’s an adaptive test.  This means that each student gets their next question based on their response to the previous question.  When a question is answered correctly, the next question is harder. If the student answers incorrectly, the next question is easier.  The test adapts itself based on the response of each student.  By the end of the test, most students will have answered about half the questions correctly.  Grade levels do not bound the MAP test.  It is possible for a 3rd-grade student, for example, to be reading at a 5th-grade level and the results of the MAP test give us that information, which helps drive teacher instruction.  In the same sense, if a 6th grade student is testing at a 4th-grade level in math, classroom instruction can be individualized and differentiated for that student.  The results of the MAP test help teachers to identify the concepts that students are lacking, as well as the areas which have been mastered.  This makes classroom instruction more effective for each student.

The great thing about MAP testing is that we get the results within 24 hours.  The results come in the form of a RIT (Rasch Unit) score. This is an equal-interval scale - which means that a change in the RIT score indicates the same thing whether the student is at the bottom, middle or top of the scale. The RIT score has the same implication regardless of a student’s age or grade level. This score represents each student’s score at that given time.  When the tests are taken a couple of times a year, this helps to measure student growth.  It helps us to determine common trends and areas that need whole class attention as well as individualized attention.

There is a “norm” RIT score for each grade level and we look at this norm to see how we are doing as a school.  Honestly, we are doing great! Our average for each grade level is above the norm in every single subject!  

Be sure to thank our great teachers for all the hard work that they put in every year to make our students thrive and excel.  It’s always a great day to be a Bobcat!