How MAP reports help reading teachers scaffold instruction

Imagine this: It is your first year as a second-grade teacher after five years of teaching third grade. While your former classroom is right down the hall, you are now realizing that these two grades are miles apart. The first time you asked your students to read at their seat, you didn’t expect many of them to start reading aloud, for example. And nevermind how you’ve been totally caught off guard by the frequent discussions about the tooth fairy.

It’s Friday afternoon and you are changing some of the literacy centers in your room to get ready for the next week. You pull out some phonics and reading comprehension activities from your closet. Fingers crossed that soon your students will be more self-sufficient as they rotate to these stations after a month of training (something else you weren’t prepared for). 

Surprised by how many of your students are still not reading very independently, you are anxious to look at the assessment data from both MAP® Growth™ and MAP® Reading Fluency™. Specifically, you are anxious to find out how well students are understanding what they read as well as how much support they need with decoding skills. It’s time to pull out the red licorice and log in to view the reports.

MAP Growth Class Profile report and Lexile reading levels

For the tired eyes of a second-grade teacher, the MAP Growth Class Profile report is very visual and easy to interpret.

At a glance, you see it provides what you need to know: how your students rank compared to other second-graders in the nation (national achievement percentiles) and how well they are comprehending texts of various levels of complexity. That’s because this report not only includes every student’s RIT score and accompanying achievement percentile, but also their Lexile reading level.

The reading Lexile reported in MAP Growth is different from what is reported as the oral reading level in MAP Reading Fluency. The Lexile score shown in the Class Profile report reflects the level of text complexity each student can understand when reading silently. It is important to note that this Lexile is based on each student’s silent reading of passages that give them the opportunity to go back and reread parts of a passage when answering a question. This close reading allows students to consider both the details and concepts within a passage, much like an authentic reading experience.

As you look at the wide breadth of scores in your class, you see that there is a handful of students who have lower than expected reading Lexile levels. This confirms your growing concern that some kids are reading Dr. Seuss beginner books or the Biscuit series while others with higher Lexile scores are deep into Junie B. Jones and The Boxcar Children.

Sorting the Lexile scores from low to high, you quickly see that there is a strong correlation to lower or higher achievement percentiles. This leads to you to wonder what might be contributing to these scores.

A sample table from the MAP Growth Class Profile report shows a teacher each student’s Lexile range.

Often, MAP Growth reading scores are assumed to be a reflection of a student’s comprehension skills, but you want to dig deeper into MAP Reading Fluency scores to find out more. You know MAP Growth helps you orient yourself and make an initial hypothesis, but MAP Reading Fluency helps you diagnose and pinpoint and finalize your plan to provide individualized instruction.

MAP Reading Fluency reporting on oral reading level and decoding ability

Your district just started using MAP Reading Fluency and, after some professional learning sessions, you are eager to find out your students’ performance in oral reading.

There are different choices of benchmark tests to assign, but you were directed to administer all students the Adaptive Oral Reading: Passages Only test. This test does not assess foundational skills. All students read a passage and, depending on their comprehension, they are given a passage of lower or higher text complexity next.

You had anticipated a variance among your students’ oral reading rate scores (i.e., their scaled words correct per minute, or WCPM) based on hearing them read in small groups. When you look at the Benchmark Matrix report, you see that your assumption is confirmed. When you see your students’ oral reading level, you realize just how much scaffolding some students need in decoding.

You have recently learned that the oral reading level, unlike the reading Lexile provided in MAP Growth, is not about comprehension. It reflects a student’s ability to read text aloud with a good rate and accuracy (i.e., without being given the opportunity to reread a text). When you click into individual student reports, you see how far below the expected range for second-graders some students are for decoding.

The Oral Reading Level sample table from the MAP Reading Fluency Benchmark Matrix report shows a teacher which students need support with decoding.

Uncovering what areas to scaffold using MAP Growth and MAP Reading Fluency reports together

Using the color coding and column sorting features in both reports, you find it quite easy to compare students’ oral reading level in MAP Reading Fluency, which reflects their decoding ability and rate, with their reading Lexile in MAP Growth, which reflects their comprehension. This comparison intrigues you because the oral reading level, which is actually based on a different Lexile framework, is new to you. The purpose of this Lexile oral reading measure, you recently learned, is not to help you direct students to choose a book at a certain level for independent reading. Instead, the oral reading level is designed to help you understand what level of decoding support to provide.  

Here’s what you find: the students who are at the lower Lexile levels in MAP Growth also have a low oral reading level in MAP Reading Fluency. This is not surprising to you. It is likely that the need for decoding support (as reflected by the oral reading level in MAP Reading Fluency) is largely why they are struggling with comprehension (as reflected by the reading Lexile in MAP Growth). You are relieved that you are on the right track for supporting those students.

More surprising, however, is that some of your students with a higher reading Lexile in MAP Growth have a lower oral reading level in MAP Reading Fluency. While at first this was confusing, you remember learning that this is because not all books with higher Lexile reading levels have an abundance of words that are hard to decode. In other words, students may comprehend a complex text (of a higher reading Lexile), understanding things like a robust theme or a newly learned text structure, but they may still need support in decoding words so they can meet grade-level expectations. These two Lexile levels can be directly compared with each other to better understand a student’s strength in either decoding or comprehension.

Rethinking student learning center assignments for next week

Although you were tempted to pack up for the week and head home to start the weekend, you are glad you opted for the licorice (even if it was a little stale) and had a brief look at your test data. When you first heard of the oral reading level, you were not sure how to apply it to your teaching, but now, after viewing the MAP Reading Fluency Benchmark Matrix report and MAP Growth Class Profile report side by side, you realize you need to make some instructional changes based on this data.

Without both sources of assessment data, you would not have known that some students still need your help strengthening decoding skills, despite having average or higher-than-average overall reading achievement levels. Now you know that those students struggling to comprehend while reading silently are also struggling to read orally at an expected rate and decoding at grade level. This is leading you to consider assigning your whole class the MAP Reading Fluency Foundational Skills test so you can dive deeper into which foundational skills you should target next.

Second grade is known to be a year of transition for developing readers, and you are starting to understand why. Feeling inspired, you decide that Monday morning you will modify your literacy center student assignments to better support the learning needs you have just uncovered. Time to pack up! TGIF!   


Reading differentiation made easy

MAP Reading Fluency now includes Coach, a virtual tutor designed to help students strengthen reading skills in as little as 30 minutes a week.

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