We love connecting with teachers on Instagram and sharing practical and creative ideas related to growth, goal setting, and building a positive classroom community. If you didn’t catch these posts earlier in the year, you may find them valuable: Top 6 Test Prep Tips from Teachers on Instagram and 5 More Testing Season Tips from Teachers on Instagram.
Whether it’s your first time using the MAP Growth Assessment, or your 15th, this post will provide teacher-developed tips you can use to kick off the assessment smoothly with your new class this fall.
1. Use your free MAP Growth professional learning resources
Do you know about NWEA Connection? It’s a complimentary resource available to all educators using MAP Growth and other NWEA assessments. It’s THE place to access support articles, self-paced professional learning resources and your teacher toolkit (a collection of popular resources, including a guide for introducing MAP Growth to parents).
2. In Kindergarten: practice mouse skills
While some schools administer MAP Growth on iPads or Chromebooks, that may not be practical in every school. If you work with Kindergartners who take MAP Growth on the computer, you may want to have them practice using the mouse before their first assessment. @kindergarten_chaos (Abbie P.) shared: “To quickly train students to use the mouse, use the free website ThisIsSand. All students need to do is hold down the left click button to release sand and then move the mouse to add that sand elsewhere… it’s the easiest way for me to quickly train my kindergartners to use a mouse!”
3. Squeeze in brief one-on-one check-ins
@polka.dots.in.primary (Shawna Wilkins) is a second grade teacher who explained: “I make time to individually conference with every student before each MAP Growth test. We discuss their progress and create a goal together [using kid-friendly language]. We also talk about test taking strategies.” She suggested having some of these quick conversations as students arrive in the morning (while others eat breakfast and complete morning work), as well as during small group instruction (as others work independently). She added that she reinforces these discussions with the whole group: “Students need to see that we are there as a classroom to support each other and celebrate our successes. We talk about test-taking strategies as a group, and we discuss why meeting a goal is important.”
4. Track goals visually from the start
Two teachers shared their take on this tip. @the_foxy_teacher (Brandy Shoemaker) teaches 6th grade math. She uploaded a version of her school’s MAP Growth goal setting template as a freebie in her Teachers Pay Teachers Store. She said: “My fellow teachers and I like to use this template at Wayne County Middle School in Kentucky before and after every MAP Growth testing session to keep students focused on making progress. I keep my students’ sheets in a folder for each class, and pull them out to set goals for each benchmark period as a group. We brainstorm specific actions that could lead to growth, then each student writes his or her own.” To initially set up a template for each student, Brandy pulls a MAP Growth report at the beginning of the year and fills in names and spring scores. Students take it from there. She suggests, “You could also give this information to students on a post-it and let them fill it in themselves.”
@ateacher_andherdog does something similar in her third-grade classroom. Below is a look at her template. She includes images of a mountain climber to help students visually compare their academic growth to the physical act of climbing a mountain. She adds, “I always meet with my students one on one to review their past RIT scores and what they’re aiming for on the next MAP Growth assessment. We discuss the importance of growth as well.”
5. Motivate and celebrate
Finally, @ateacher_andherdog also told us how she keeps the MAP testing atmosphere positive and motivating from the start. She brings in milk and cookies for students before the test, and gives awards afterwards to celebrate growth and perseverance. As an alternative, consider replacing making time for a dance break or a classroom cheer, while displaying a motivating growth mindset quote on the board.
I hope these tips help set you up for your smoothest fall testing season yet! And if you’re on Instagram, follow us to see ideas like this more regularly. We also aggregate our favorite resources on Pinterest. Thank you to all the educators who follow us and share their tips with others.