Empower Students with the College Explorer Tool

Help every student see a clearer path to collegeIt has been so exciting to get such great feedback from our partners after the “soft launch” of NWEA’s new College Explorer Tool! Since its recent release, well over 7500 people have visited this interactive data visualization, which enables fifth through ninth grade students to use their Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) scores to see which colleges and universities they’re on track to enter long before they embark on the college application process.

Here’s what one 6th grade teacher had to say: “I loved this! I would use this in all of our goal setting conversations from here on out. It gives students something concrete to look at while we are talking about scores.”

The idea for the tool came from NWEA researchers who wanted to figure out how to help students make use of the valuable data provided by U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, which includes information on cost of attendance and the average annual cost to families at different income levels. The tool is intended to be a conversation-starter for students, parents, and educators who want insights into what college opportunities may be available to them given their academic performance. Exploring this information can also serve as an opportunity for students to set academic goals in order to be improve their chances for admission at their preferred institution.

The College Explorer Tool uses correlations between MAP scores and ACT® scores to pinpoint the colleges and universities for which a students’ forthcoming scores would likely be near the median ACT scores of students who were admitted and enrolled in those institutions. Additionally, the tool provides a quantitative profile of each institution using data from the College Scorecard website. This crucial information shows students and their families how much they would likely need to borrow in order to complete their education at a given college, as well as graduates’ typical earnings.

“I loved this! I would use this in all of our goal setting conversations from here on out. It gives students something concrete to look at while we are talking about scores.”

Schools, students, and parents can access the College Explorer tool from our website. If you know any students who use MAP that might be interested in exploring real college possibilities, please share this resource with them, their parents, or their school!