At Novi, a district of 6,000 students in Oakland County, Michigan, MAP® Growth™ has long been a part of their balanced approach to assessment. According to Dr. R.J. Webber, Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services, the district uses MAP Growth in grades K-10 to see if their curriculum is meeting targets and to track progress. Like many around the state, Novi educators are focusing on the new reading requirements. Webber anticipates MAP Growth will be helpful because it is aligned to state standards.
The great thing about NWEA reports is that they already show partially proficient, not proficient, etc. NWEA shows in advance if a student is going to be proficient or not on the state test. And for teachers, they use it to confirm if their hunch is right or not. It’s a strong, consistent element that our staff regularly uses to see how a student is doing academically.
Here are five tips that Webber, and then director of student growth and accountability, Nick Kalakailo, shared on using MAP Growth effectively:
1. Promote or hire the right people. As Webber says:
Rather than going for traditional curriculum coordinators in math or ELA, we made a bet that what we needed was to get our instructional data house in order and better serve our English language learners.
2. Refine your assessment plan – and get leadership approval. Initially, Novi schools were only using MAP Growth annually. That, as Webber says, is not enough:
It’s not enough that we’re going to have a spring state assessment. We need some before and after snapshots of how kids are doing, and we need immediate results now.
They now use MAP Growth twice per year.
3. Execute your plan consistently. As Kalakailo explains:
After four years of recommitting to fall and spring MAP Growth testing cycles, teachers feel more confident about the test. They’re able to understand the information they get and see how it’s actionable.
4. Have a well-prepared test administration and use teachers as proctors. Assessment literacy starts with the assessment administrations, since students respond positively to well-orchestrated environments. As Kalakailo says:
When I ask a teacher to be a better administrator of the assessment, it’s because I respect him or her as a professional. Teachers realize there is an art to assessment administration. No learning or assessment environment is ever perfect but having teachers who are intentional about their own assessment practices helps account for expected imperfection.
5. Create ways to have data conversations. Webber and Kalakailo stress that a balanced assessment system involves continually monitoring how data get discussed at the individual student and programmatic level. Because using MAP Growth year-over-year creates a data-rich, longitudinal history for every student, Novi educators have more nuanced conversations about acceleration and intervention.
The evidence suggests that their approach at Novi is working. For the third year in a row, Novi is first in Oakland County in math, social studies, and science in aggregate scores. With the highest number of English Language Learners in the county, Novi still ranks third in Language Arts scores.
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