Every year, we test Kindergarten through 8th grade students using a standardized, norm-referenced assessment tool:
MAP® (Measurement of Academic Progress) Assessment
Why are students tested?
The MAP test is one of several tools that NCA uses to evaluate student performance. We are careful not to measure students on the basis on one test alone. As part of a balanced assessment program, students take the MAP test to help us:
Find out where each student is performing in Reading, Language Usage, and Math
Identify a child’s academic strengths
Identify areas where a child may need to improve
Keep track of student progress and growth in basic skills over the school year and are able to adjust teaching strategies to meet the student needs
Enhance our parent-teacher partnership in the education process
What are the different scores?
The individual Student Progress Report is a very helpful tool in understanding the various terms (like RIT, percentile, Growth Projection, etc.) and your child’s scores. The Student Progress Report gives information to help us gauge a student’s individual growth as well as a way to compare an individual student’s scores with the mean score of other students who took the MAP test at NCA and across the nation.
What are RIT scores?
RIT stands for Rasch Unit. It is a standard of measurement, almost like an inch on a ruler. We use the RIT scale to measure a student’s academic growth over time. Like units on a ruler, the scale is divided into equal intervals called Rasch Units, and is independent of grade level. Teachers also use the RIT scale to help determine skills and concepts that should be enhanced, developed, or introduced.
What are percentile scores?
Percentiles give a description of how a child compared with other students who took the test by showing scores that range from 1 to 99. For example, if a student scored in the 75th percentile on a test, that student achieved a score that is higher than 75% of the other students who took the test. Percentile scores are not percentage correct scores, but they allow you to compare one student’s score with a group of students who took the test.
How do you interpret test scores?
What do the MAP scores mean? As the MAP assessment is just one indicator that we use to identify a student’s academic growth, teachers compare each student’s MAP scores with other assessments and daily class work. If there is not a large difference between the test results and the impression of how each student should have scored, the test confirms our impression of each child’s skills.
If there is a large difference, however, we look closely at the scores and the child’s in-class performance. We can ask some guiding questions about what might be the cause of the difference:
What is the student’s attitude or level of anxiety and/or motivation toward the test?
Was there a noticeable change in the student’s attendance?
Was there a noticeable change in the routine of the classroom?
Were there distractions (i.e. upcoming special events, health circumstances, poor night’s sleep, etc.)?
Did a sub-skill or goal area (i.e. geometry in the math test) lower the overall test score?
As a school, we look at individual student progress as well as trends and patterns within each grade level, and across grade levels, to make careful conclusions about curriculum and instructional strategies, both strengths and gaps.