Getting ready for spring testing? It’s likely that almost all teachers who prepared for the MAP® GrowthTM assessment last fall learned something along the way. While there’s never only one way to prepare for an assessment, we have accumulated some best practices over the years. So here are seven best practices to help you prepare for the MAP Growth assessment:
1. Be sure to prepare your students. Teachers should set aside some time to speak with their students about MAP Growth, its purpose, and the specifics of how it works. (You can log in to our community, NWEA Connection, to download a poster with testing tips for students!) This is also an opportunity to expand your student’s growth mindset. As Carol Dweck often says, hard work and dedication make a big difference. The brain is a muscle, and it can grow; students can learn and achieve more. The MAP Growth assessment gives each student the opportunity to see how much they have grown—and can motivate them to make growth goals.
2. Schedule time for a data conversation. Assessment data from MAP Growth can be used to inform students and parents about academic progress, as well as to guide teaching, so data conversations will most likely be multi-faceted. Consider peer discussions, as well as student and parent discussions. Are there professional learning opportunities available in your school or district to discuss and understand assessment data and related actions? Are parent-teacher conferences available or scheduled frequently enough to effectively communicate results? All of these things need to be considered.
3. Prepare both teachers and proctors of MAP Growth. Proctors are in a great position to set the tone for the assessment experience and to make sure the testing conditions are optimal, so that each student can put their best foot forward. You can read more about this in our blog post about six best practices for MAP Growth proctors. Often, teachers act as proctors of MAP Growth. This provides teachers the opportunity to see first-hand the questions that are on the test and how students respond to them. Being in the room with students can allow teachers to get ideas about misconceptions that students may have; they can then share these findings with their peers and students as they prepare for the test.
4. Set up the Class Roster File to make it actionable for more stakeholders. Consider who needs to see and use the assessment data. Part of making data actionable means that those who need to take action have timely access to the data. One way to think about organizing your Class Roster File (CRF) is to put the student at the center, and then consider who might need to see the data to better support the student’s learning needs. Multiple teachers may be attached to a student in the CRF. There may be other educators—specialists, counselors, etc.—who work with a student and would benefit from having the same quick and easy access to MAP Growth results as the classroom teacher does.
To set up your CRF and/or special program file (SPF), follow these steps:
- Log in to the NWEA® Reports Siteand click the Upload Roster link from the left-hand navigation menu
- Select the School or District Name and the Roster Term, and then click the Add Files button
- In the Add File window, browse to the CRF and SPF (optional), and then click the Open button to add the files
- Click the Start Upload button to submit your files to NWEA
NOTE: An SPF file is only necessary if your district plans to disaggregate data based on special programs, such as Title I, ESL, or Talented and Gifted.
5. Consider scheduling flexibility where it’s possible. Be sure to work with your district to determine the dates of your testing window. To best monitor growth of students across time, a testing window of no more than three weeks is recommended. This testing window should be consistent from year to year for an accurate comparison of growth data. Once the testing window is set up, create a testing schedule for each school and share the schedules with all staff. Be sure to include time for make-up tests for students who may be absent on the day of testing. Only one group of students should be scheduled in each lab the first day of the testing window; this will give proctors the opportunity to test the systems and procedures to make sure everything is working properly.
6. Establish or review testing procedures and communication plans. Before each testing season, it’s a good idea to review your school’s or district’s testing procedures. It is important to know what data needs to be communicated to whom and in what format. Ask yourself the following:
- Do all staff have appropriate network permissions and software to administer tests, add or modify student testing accounts, or access online reports?
- Who will be responsible for uploading test results to NWEA each day?
- What is the process for submitting Problem Item Reports to NWEA?
- What is the process for submitting and tracking Data Repair Requests (DRRs)?
- Who should proctors talk to for help with technical troubleshooting?
- What is the plan for communicating results with parents and students, providing testing status information to staff, or collecting feedback from staff on established procedures?
7. Ensure that your teachers and staff receive MAP Growth training. Teachers, proctors, and school administrators who are new to MAP Growth, or who need a refresher, can find self-paced, online tutorials and helpful information on the Professional Learning section of our community.
There are also many resources available—for teachers, students, and parents—on NWEA Connection, as well as here on our blog to help you prepare for MAP Growth and get the most from the assessment.