Northwest Evaluation Association

Following the MAP of
Academic Progress

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What are the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)?

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) are a series of tests developed by Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) that measure your child's general knowledge in reading, math, and science. Your 2nd through 10th grade child will take the MAP test in October and may. In some schools, some students may also take the MAP test in January. These tests serve as our second assessment required by the Iowa Code, Chapter 12. The results of these tests give students, parents, teachers and administrators some excellent data to help make educational decisions.

What are Measures of Academic Progress Used For?

They measure your child's progress or growth in school. You may have a chart in your home on which you mark your child's height at certain times-such as on their birthday. This is a growth chart. It shows how they have grown from one year to the next.

Measures of Academic Progress also measure your child's growth, except they measure your child's growth in reading, math skills, and science (gr. 7 only).

How Do the Tests Measure Growth in Learning?

The Measures of Academic Progress use scores to measure growth in reading, math, and science (gr. 7 only). Scores depend on two things: how many questions are answered correctly and the difficulty of each question.

What Do the Tests Cover?

Each Measure of Academic Progress is made up of parts, which are called goals. Take a look at these sample goal areas for each test. Your child will take tests with goals that are similar to these.

Word Meaning
Literal Comprehension
Inferential Comprehension
Evaluative Comprehension

Estimation and Computation
Number Sense
Geometry and Spatial Sense
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
Problem Solving

When you, your child, and your child's teacher look at MAP results, it may become apparent that certain goal areas need more attention than others.

Do All Students Take the Same Test?

Yes and no.

All students take a computerized reading, math, and science (gr. 7 only) test. Although every test has questions covering the same goal areas, not every test has the same questions, and the test questions vary in difficulty.

In a computerized adaptive test, the difficulty of the test is adjusted to the student's performance so each student sees different test questions. The difficulty of each question is based on how well the student has answered the questions up to that point. As the student answers correctly, the questions become more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. This enables the school to monitor the growth of students of all abilities.

How Important are the Tests to Students and to Teachers?

These tests are important because they keep track of progress or growth in the basic skills. They let teachers know where students' strengths are and if help is needed in any specific areas. MAP is just one look at how children are doing. Teachers already routinely assign projects and tasks, administer other tests, discuss student work, and report grades. These are all very important ways of looking at student progress.

The best thing your child can do to prepare for testing is to work hard in school every day. Regular attendance, good nutrition, and adequate rest are also important components for successful test performance.

Cheryl A. Werner
Advanced Placement (AP)
Gifted and Talented (GT)
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
The Arts (Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts)

Click on the page above to access the NWEA website. It's a wonderful resource for information on this innovative form of testing.

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