How to use assessment to close gaps and support families

How to use assessment to close gaps and support families - TLG-IMG-01142020

Has diversity increased in your school or district since you became an educator?

Work by the Pew Research Center has shown that post-Millennials—kids born between 1997 and 2012—are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation to date, with only 52% identifying as white and non-Hispanic. This diversity has led to higher rates of English language learners (ELLs), too: 4.9 million students in 2016, up from 3.8 million in 2000.

Changing demographics call on us to rethink our approaches to education, from allowing kids to take an assessment in their native language to making equity a critical component of curriculum development.

Reach more ELLs with MAP Spanish

Addressing the needs of students learning English presents many challenges for schools and districts. But taking the time to reach first-generation Hispanic students in particular (those who are foreign born or whose parents are recent immigrants) is especially important. Research shows that first-generation Hispanic students are more likely to struggle academically than second-generation Hispanic students (those born in the US to American-born parents, or parents who moved here as young children).

[F]irst-generation Hispanic students are more likely to struggle academically than second-generation Hispanic students.”

One way to meet these students where they are is by allowing them to take an assessment in Spanish while they’re still learning English. MAP® en español can help ensure proper grade and course placement for newcomers in your school or district, and it can also encourage conversations about what happens after placement to support student learning. Here’s how:

  • When prior school records are available, the Spanish screening assessments in MAP® Growth™ can inform and confirm placement decisions. Administering a shorter test and using the data as part of a multiple-measures approach reduces the amount of time a student is required to test before being scheduled for classes. Once enrolled, the student may take either MAP Growth or MAP® Reading Fluency™ in Spanish to show what they know and provide their teacher with key data that can inform instructional strategies
  • When no prior school records are available, Spanish MAP Growth Reading or MAP Reading Fluency can determine reading levels in a student’s native language. This can prevent over-testing a newcomer. The MAP Growth Student Profile report shows what students are ready to work on next, how they can be grouped by instructional areas, and where they should be placed
  • Once a student has been placed, teachers can track progress and growth in English and Spanish throughout the year using MAP Growth and MAP Reading Fluency. MAP Growth Skills Checklists help teachers track skill development in English in K–2
Tweet: Assessments to help every kid in diverse classrooms #edchat #edpolicy #education

Engage parents in the data review process

Parents who have recently arrived in the US are concerned about the needs of their children and their success in school, just like the rest of us. Engaging them in the data review process can foster a meaningful relationship between the school and family and also provides an opportunity to explore ways families can help students outside of school. Here are some resources to try:

  • Family Toolkit: This site provides a variety of resources to help parents understand MAP Growth, including the Family Guide. Did you know the guide’s available in more than a dozen languages?
  • Visuals in the MAP Growth Family Report: These, alongside the sample Spanish translation of the Family Report, can help parents understand their child’s achievement and growth and facilitate collaborating on ways families can work with students outside the classroom
  • Recorded audio in MAP Reading Fluency: When families can hear their student read, it’s easier for teachers to highlight strengths and areas of focus. These conversations can also provide a good opportunity to connect the family to school and community library resources

Use what you know

When thinking about strategies for engaging immigrant families, consider the approaches you already use, whether you’re an administrator or classroom teacher. How do you reach out to parents of kids who have been in your school or district for a while? How do you engage them in the community to increase connectedness between home and school?

Your approach with new families should be similar. Just remember to identify key ways to ensure there’s a way to communicate with families in their native language, like through a translator. This will increase equitable access to data—and equitable opportunities to grow.

Blog post

Helping students grow

Students continue to rebound from pandemic school closures. NWEA® and Learning Heroes experts talk about how best to support them here on our blog, Teach. Learn. Grow.

See the post


Put the science of reading into action

The science of reading is not a buzzword. It’s the converging evidence of what matters and what works in literacy instruction. We can help you make it part of your practice.

Get the guide


Support teachers with PL

High-quality professional learning can help teachers feel invested—and supported—in their work.

Read the article