11 Talking Points for Teachers Preparing Students for the MAP Test

11 Talking Points for Teachers Preparing Students for the MAP TestAs school gets back underway and students get into their groove, teachers begin to think about winter testing. Many schools administer the Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) K – 12 interim assessment around this time of year to gather information on student learning that gives them the data needed to make informed instructional decisions. Getting students ready for the MAP test is not difficult, but there are some steps teachers can take to prepare them for the assessment. Here are some valuable discussion points:

  1. Talk about the purpose of MAP testing. The test results will show teachers how well students are performing so teachers can best help their students in class. It will also help teachers know about what each student should be working on to improve the most. It’s even better if you can specifically talk to students about the purpose of the winter test and how the results will be used.
  2. The MAP test builds a unique test for each student. The computer displays one question at a time on the screen. Students select an answer using the mouse or the keyboard. The difficulty of the test will adjust based on how the student performs on the questions. MAP will build a test that is specific to each student.
  3. Students are not expected to know the answer to every question.
  4. Students cannot skip items, and they cannot go back.
  5. Students may change an answer as many times as they like, but once they have clicked the Go On button, or pressed the Enter key on the keyboard, the answer cannot be changed.
  6. The tests are not timed, but students need to work productively.
  7. Students should use their best test-taking skills. Review test-taking skills with students:
    • sounding out familiar words
    • looking for root words
    • using prefixes and suffixes
    • looking at surrounding text for clues
    • reading directions and an item completely, and
    • eliminating wrong answers

The MAP test is a computer adaptive test, so be sure to include the following discussion points:

  1. Find out if students are comfortable using the mouse, keyboard, scroll bars, and a pop-up calculator. If they are not, you might need to schedule a time to familiarize students with the lab and computers.
  2. Tell students about the assigned seating arrangement in the computer lab.
  3. Remind students that they cannot use textbooks, other materials, or hand-held calculators during the test.
  4. Discuss the importance of listening to the proctor’s directions before beginning the test.

Teachers are an integral part of the MAP testing experience and students generally do better when the teacher is positive and encouraging. Some additional MAP test resources that teachers may find helpful:

  • MAP and MAP for Primary Grades (MPG) Warm-Ups – These videos explain how students will interact with MAP and the MPG test for K – 2 grades. The warm-ups also feature sample test questions.
  • A Parent’s Guide to MAP – While primarily aimed at helping teachers have conversations with parents about MAP, the guide is also a great resource for commonly asked questions about the test.

Finally, MAP results from winter testing provide a great opportunity to talk about student goals and goal setting at the mid-year point. Check out some posts from our contributors on student goal setting:

The MAP test can accurately measure growth, project proficiency on state accountability tests, and inform how educators can differentiate instruction, evaluate programs, and structure curriculum. These tips and resources can help teachers ensure that students are prepared and ready to put their best foot forward.


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