MAP® Skills (formerly known as Skills Navigator) is an online classroom assessment tool that quickly and accurately measures student K-8 building block skills in math, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and language usage. MAP Skills is designed to give a “power boost” to your teaching, helping to:
- Identify the skills students are ready to learn
- Collect evidence of skill learning
- Monitor student progress toward mastery
For schools like CICS West Belden, MAP Skills plays a key role in structuring learning paths and creating competency-based progression – both of which were paramount for their implementation of personalized learning. Here’s what the teachers and administrators at this Chicago charter school recommend to other schools planning a MAP Skills implementation this year:
- Find Champions. One project champion can set the vision and cultivate more champions in each building. Consider instructional coaches as ones who can be introduced to the tool first.
- Start with a Pilot.
- Create a ‘coalition of the willing.’ The CICS West Belden pilot, as an example, included teachers who were willing to give it a try, had a solid understanding of data, and whose classrooms were technologically ready.
- Balance flexibility with some parameters. The pilot team can narrow the options in MAP Skills by choosing the subject areas and identifying the specific skill areas or ‘strands.’ (West Belden leaders started with Math and Number Sense, for example, but they gave teachers flexibility on how to use MAP Skills in their classroom.)
- Manage expectations. Be realistic with expectations from teachers. Ensure that there is operational alignment and the resources needed to succeed – time, talent, and technology.
- Look ahead. Once the teachers have data, plan for the curriculum they will need to address the skill gaps. West Belden students, for example, use Khan Academy and IXL to practice their skills.
- Collect feedback. The pilot team should constantly gather feedback from teachers – and work closely in partnership with their NWEA team throughout the implementation.
- Build on success. Grow from your pilot experience, expand the coalition, and drive the initiative forward. West Belden, for example, started with Math in grades 2-5, and now uses MAP Skills with all students in Math for grades 2-8, for Vocabulary in grades 3-8, and is expanding into Reading Comprehension.
To make a meaningful impact, the successful implementation of MAP Skills is key. At West Belden, introducing a new approach to teaching and learning helped further the bonds between the students, teachers, staff, and leaders around a common goal – bringing students up to grade level and beyond. And a thoughtful, successful implementation is the first step to smooth sailing. You can learn more about their success with personalized learning and MAP Skills here.
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