Six Commonly Used MAP Terms Worth Knowing

Six Commonly Used MAP Test Terms Worth KnowingIn any industry, there are terms that get thrown around and it seems like only other industry colleagues have a clue as to what they mean. This is no different in education. This school year students are taking assessments, and in the case of Measures of Academic Progress® or MAP®, these K – 12 interim assessments are often administered in the fall, winter and spring. Teachers will communicate these results to students and parents and undoubtedly use terms unfamiliar to them. Let’s examine six of the more commonly used terms and what they mean.


The NWEA MAP test uses a scale called RIT to measure student achievement and growth. RIT stands for Rasch UnIT, which is a measurement scale developed to simplify the interpretation of test scores. The RIT score relates directly to the curriculum scale in each subject area. It is an equal-interval scale, like feet and inches, so scores can be added together to calculate accurate class or school averages. RIT scores range from about 100 to 300. Students typically start at the 180 to 200 level in the third grade and progress to the 220 to 260 level by high school. RIT scores make it possible to follow a student’s educational growth from year to year.

District Average

The average RIT score for all students in the school district in the same grade who were tested at the same time as your child.

Norm Group Average

The average score of students who were in the same grade and tested in the same term as observed in the latest NWEA norming study.

Percentile Range

Percentiles are used to compare one student’s performance to that of the norm group. Percentile means the student scored as well as, or better than, that percent of students taking the test in his/her grade. There is about a 68 percent chance that a student’s percentile ranking would fall within this range if the student tested again relatively soon.

Percentile Rank

This number indicates the percentage of students in the NWEA norm group for this grade that this student’s score equaled or exceeded. The percentile rank is a normative statistic that indicates how well a student performed in comparison to the students in the norm group. A student’s percentile rank indicates that the student scored as well as, or better than, the percent of students in the norm group. In other words, a student with a percentile rank of 72 scored as well as, or better than 72 percent of the students in the norm group.


Standards are statements, developed by states or districts, of what students should know and be able to do, related to specific academic areas.

As teachers, parents, and students discuss MAP results and other assessment data, having a baseline understanding of these terms will help. If a teacher uses terms you’re unfamiliar with, be sure to ask them what they mean. MAP data are used to measure your student’s progress or growth in school and helps teachers develop individualized learning plans to advance your student’s learning.