Creating a personal learning journey

We know that children learn better—and faster—when teachers have a clear picture of what each student knows and what they are ready to learn next.

That’s why our assessments react to each student’s answers. In the testing world, this makes our tests “adaptive,” or personalized to measure the needs of every student.

Read A Parent’s Guide to MAP Growth



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Understanding MAP Growth

What is MAP Growth?

MAP Growth is a computer adaptive test created by NWEA that kids take two to three times per school year. The results provide teachers with information to help them deliver appropriate content for each student and determine each student’s academic growth over time.

What does it mean to be computer adaptive?

Computer adaptive tests adjust to each student’s learning level, providing a unique set of test questions based on their responses to previous questions. As the student responds to questions, the test responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty.

What does MAP Growth measure?

MAP Growth is used to measure a student’s performance level at different times of the school year and compute their academic growth.

What is a RIT score?

After each MAP Growth test, results are delivered in the form of a RIT score that reflects the student’s academic knowledge, skills, and abilities. Think of this score like marking height on a growth chart. You can tell how tall your child is at various points in time and how much they have grown between one stage and another.

The RIT (Rasch Unit) scale is a stable, equal-interval scale. Equal-interval means that a change of 10 RIT points indicates the same thing regardless of whether a student is at the top, bottom, or middle of the scale, and a RIT score has the same meaning regardless of grade level or age of the student. You can compare scores over time to tell how much growth a student has made.

How do schools and teachers use MAP Growth scores?

MAP Growth helps schools and teachers know what your child is ready to learn at any point in time. Teachers can see the progress of individual students and of their class as a whole. Principals and administrators can see the progress of a grade level, school, or the entire district.

Since students with similar MAP Growth scores are generally ready for instruction in similar skills and topics, it makes it easier for teachers to plan instruction. MAP Growth also provides typical growth data for students who are in the same grade, subject, and have the same starting performance level. This data is often used to help students set goals and understand what they need to learn to achieve their goals.

Can MAP Growth tell me if my child is working at grade level?

Yes. Just as a doctor has a chart showing the most common heights of people at certain ages, NWEA researchers have examined the scores of millions of students and put together charts showing the median RIT scores for students at various grade levels.

Note that MAP Growth scores are just one data point that teachers use to determine how a student is performing. Please discuss any questions that you have about your child’s performance with your child’s teacher.

What subjects are available with MAP Growth?

There are MAP Growth tests for grades 2 – 12 in reading, language usage, math, and science.

There are also primary grades tests for grades K – 2, referred to as MAP Growth K-2, in reading and math. With these child-friendly tests for young learners, students wear headphones, since many questions include audio to assist those who are still learning to read.

How often will my child take MAP Growth tests?

Most schools give MAP Growth tests to students at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Some schools have students take MAP Growth tests at other times throughout the year.

Is MAP Growth a standardized test? How is it different from “high stakes” or state tests?

MAP Growth tests are interim assessments, which means they may be given periodically during the year. It is based on the same standards as the summative (“high-stakes” or state) tests, so they measure similar content. Teachers receive immediate results with MAP Growth that show what students know and what they are ready to learn. The results can be used to help personalize lessons at the appropriate level for the students.

Most state or high-stakes tests measure what students already know—based on what is expected at their grade level—and are typically given at the end of the school year as a way to measure grade-level proficiency.

What types of questions are on MAP Growth tests? Are there sample tests?

The MAP Growth tests include multiple choice, drag-and-drop, and other types of questions. You can view our  WarmUp Test to get an idea of what the questions look like.

Are MAP Growth tests accessible?

Yes, NWEA is committed to making our tests accessible for all students. Visit our Accessibility and Accommodations page for more details.

What information will I receive from my child’s school?

Most schools will provide your child’s Student Progress Report, which contains information and scores from your child’s most recent and past MAP Growth tests. A simplified sample report with definitions and explanations is included on the last page of this document to help you better understand how to read and interpret the report.

How do I learn more about my child’s test results, and who do I contact with specific questions?

Ask your child’s school or teacher about your child’s test results and what more you can do to help your child achieve their academic goals.

Due to privacy laws regarding student information (specifically stemming from the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA]), NWEA is unable to discuss any student information, test results, or school assessment programs directly with parents, guardians, or other family members.

What does NWEA do with my child’s information? Is it secure?

NWEA uses technological and operational measures to ensure security and privacy, including regular security audits and monitoring, technological controls, physical access controls, and privacy training for employees.

NWEA does not use your child’s personally identifiable information (PII) for any purpose other than to provide services to your child’s school. Combined information that has been stripped of PII, and therefore is not traceable to any student, is used for research and development so we can continuously improve our products and accelerate learning for all students.

We do not sell PII. Data sharing (if any) is completely at the control of the educational institutions that purchase our products.

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