How MAP Growth data drives performance and becomes part of school culture

When principals and teachers understand how to measure student growth and support students in reaching their potential, and when they truly value the ability to deliver a measure that an interim assessment like MAP® Growth™ provides, then consistent data practices can become part of a school’s or district’s culture.

So believes Cindy Keever, director of Student Support with Westfield Washington School District in Hamilton County, Indiana. Since NWEA assessments and data practices have become an embedded, integrated system of evaluating, understanding, and educating at Westfield Washington School throughout the past decade, educators feel confident about their ability to understand where students are in their learning process, no matter how their buildings, classrooms, or instructional groupings are reconfigured over time.

We recently spoke with Keever to learn more about the difference MAP Growth is making for her students. Here are some excerpts from our case study on Westfield Washington School District.

How did MAP Growth data come to be central to the culture of learning at Westfield Washington?

The district made a firm commitment to providing professional learning for teachers and administrators, to help all become more sophisticated users of data. To this end, they have taken all the Professional Learning (PL) workshops offered by NWEA and continue to deepen their practice. They also created buy-in for the NWEA growth model by making sure it was—and continues to be—completely visible to its entire learning community. Every student, teacher, and parent understands that MAP Growth data shows how kids are growing—and that each student knows where they can progress further.

How did you get families invested in the data?

Principals hold NWEA focus nights where they introduce the MAP Growth test—its usage and the reports that come from it. Then, teachers send home growth reports three times per year, and every parent-teacher conference includes a review of a student’s MAP Growth report. Students, too, have complete ownership of their growth evaluation. They understand the purpose of testing, and they are excited about striving to meet their growth targets.

Keever believes that this shared appreciation for MAP Growth data even helped her district win a referendum, when many other districts lost theirs. “By providing NWEA data three times per year showing how your kids are growing—that helped us win the referendum. It has helped us build a trust base with our families. They have tangible evidence that their children are learning every day when they come to school. It gives them peace of mind.”

How can assessment data serve your school or district?

MAP Growth data is not only a cultural investment, it’s also driving performance. Westfield Washington sets district and building-level scorecards—and measures three times per year—based on what they value most: student growth as reflected and reported by MAP Growth. For example, they set a target that students in grades 2–8 would be at the 90th percentile of meeting growth targets across all grade levels and at the district level. Based on the number of subjects evaluated, there were 21 opportunities to meet that growth target. At the outset, the district met this goal in one of 21 areas. Today, with the support of teachers focused on understanding and empowering student growth, they’re at 14 of 21 areas.

Here are some questions to get data conversations started in your school or district.

Questions for teachers

  • How can you create a culture of learning with data with your students?
  • How do you partner with families to use data in ways that support and empower learning?
  • What is something new you would like to try with families?
  • How can you use MAP Growth data to empower learners?

Questions for leaders

  • How can you create a culture of learning with data in your school or district? What barriers need to be overcome or what success can be built upon?
  • How do you partner with families to use data in ways that support and empower learning at the school or district level?
  • What is something new you would like to try with families?
  • How do you use MAP Growth data to empower teachers and students to make responsive learning moves?


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