Episode 18: Navigating M.A.P.

On Episode 18, Amy Van Hoose discusses the NWEA MAP test with 3rd grade SJES teacher, Heather Seger, and 3rd grade SCE teacher Ashley Schrage.  The NWEA MAP test (Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress) is given to students in 2nd through 8th grade to see what students know, help teachers inform instruction, individualize instruction, and monitor growth.  It is unlike standardized tests because it is adaptive, questions get easier and harder in order to pinpoint a child’s proficiency and growth in several categories and subcategories. While this test is very valuable for teachers, it can also be a helpful tool for parents too. 

Heather Seger lives in St. Jacob. She graduated from SIUE in 2015 with her bachelors degree in elementary education. This is her fourth year teaching at St. Jacob. She has taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. In addition to teaching, she coaches high school girls soccer at Triad. She is currently working towards her masters in curriculum and instruction. In her free time she likes to exercise, watch Netflix, and spend time with her family and friends.


Ms. Ashley Schrage is excited to be teaching in the Triad School District. She received her bachelors in early childhood education at SIUE and her Masters in Educational technology and design! She does her best to provide her students with quality, engaging lessons that are developmentally appropriate! Her heart and passion is in teaching and she tries to show it everyday!


What is MAP and who takes it?
MAP is a computer based test that our 2nd-8th grade students take three times a year (fall, winter, spring). The test is used to determine which skills students are ready to learn and which skills they need more help with. MAP allows you to see student growth over time.

How does MAP work?
Map is a computer adaptive test, which means it adjusts to each student’s learning level, providing a unique set of test questions based on their responses to previous questions. As the student responds to questions, the test responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty. In the end, teachers and parents can see what students know and what they are ready to learn.

What does MAP Measure?
MAP Growth is used to measure a student’s performance level at different times of the school year and compute their academic growth.

How often will my child take a MAP test?
Students will take the MAP test during a three week window after Labor Day, after winter break, and before the end of school. Three tests are given: math, reading, and language. Each test usually takes 30-60 minutes to complete.

What types of questions are on a MAP test?
The MAP Growth tests include multiple choice, drag-and-drop, and other types of questions. You can view a MAP WarmUp Test to get an idea of what the questions look like.

What is a RIT score?
After each MAP Growth test, results are delivered in the form of a RIT score that reflects the student’s academic knowledge, skills, and abilities. Think of this score like marking height on a growth chart. You can tell how tall your child is at various points in time and how much they have grown between one stage and another.
The RIT (Rasch Unit) scale is a stable, equal-interval scale. Equal-interval means that a change of 10 RIT points indicates the same thing regardless of whether a student is at the top, bottom, or middle of the scale, and a RIT score has the same meaning regardless of grade level or age of the student. You can compare scores over time to tell how much growth a student has made.

What are norms?
MAP compares a student’s test performance to a norm group of representative students that previously took the test. Students will receive a score that tells them their percentile scored relative to the norm group. Reports you receive will contain a norm for the district and a national norm. These help you gauge how your child performs compared to other similar students.

How can I compare my child’s performance to the other students in the district or country?
Teachers have access to student progress reports and share these with parents. These reports show three things, the students RIT score, the school districts average RIT score for that specific grade level, and the average Norm RIT score (an average score for students in the nation, at the same grade level who took the test around the same time). This allows you to see how your students results match up to other students in their grade.

How do teachers and students use MAP scores?
Teachers use MAP scores in lots of ways. They often set goals with students to strengthen an area of need. They also use them to form group of students who have similar needs in order to individualize instruction. They also use the results to monitor growth of individuals students an a class as a whole.

How can parents support a child before, during, and after a test session?
Make sure students are getting a good night’s rest the night before the test and that they eat a good breakfast before they take the test.

Make sure you contact your child’s teacher with any concerns you may have about the test results, he/she will be able to guide you to at home practice that can be used to strengthen skills. One very helpful program is IXL-an online math and language arts program. Students can practice skills identified as a higher need on IXL throughout the year. Reading a little each night is the most powerful thing you can do. The MAP test has a great amount of reading, and our students are expected to read the test on their own.

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