NWEA MAP testing

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a not-for-profit organization committed to helping school districts throughout the nation improve learning for all students. It partners with more than 1,300 school districts representing more than three million students. As a result of NWEA tests, educators can make informed decisions to promote your child’s academic growth.

NWEA’s computerized adaptive test is called Measures of Academic Progress (MAP). When taking a MAP test, the difficulty of each question is based on how well a student answers all the previous questions. As the student answers correctly, questions become more difficult. If a student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. The final score is an estimate of the student’s achievement level.

MAP is a Wyoming Assessment.  This computer adaptive achievement test assesses students in Mathematics and Reading and is normed-referenced to measure student growth over time.  Each student has a unique assessment based on their ability level and how they answer individual questions.   All tests have no time limits and allow for accommodations that students may have on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and students on a 504 Plan.

Students in kindergarten through tenth grade participate in the MAP assessment.  All students participate in the Fall assessment to gather a baseline and can be used to guide targeted skill instruction.  Some schools or classrooms may choose to do an optional Winter assessment to monitor progress and further adjust their instructions.  All students finish the school year by participating in the the Spring assessment to measure students’ growth.  Students are assigned a RIT score after each assessment.  The RIT score is a curriculum score based on the item difficulty values to estimate student achievement.  

Teachers can use this formative assessment, along with other assessment data, to monitor student progress and guide instruction for interventions or enrichments.  MAP communicates both RIT and Lexile scores that will assist teachers in scaffolding their instruction to meet the needs of the learner and grow them into higher Lexile at RIT scores.


Questions regarding MAP testing

What are computerized adaptive tests?
Computerized adaptive tests are tests taken on a computer.  The difficulty of a 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.

What subjects does MAP test?
MAP tests students in math and reading.

How long does it take to complete a test?
Although the tests are not timed, it usually takes students about one hour to complete each test.

When will my student be tested and how often?
We usually test students twice a year — at the beginning of the school year in fall and at the end of the school year in spring.  Consult your school's calendar or newsletters for more specific information regarding test dates.

Do all students in the same grade take the same test?
NWEA assessments are designed to target a student’s academic performance in math and reading, but tests are tailored to an individual’s current achievement level.  This gives each student a fair opportunity to show what he or she knows and can do.  In the MAP test, the computer adjusts the difficulty of the questions so that each student takes a unique test.

What are NWEA assessments used for?
NWEA assessments are used to measure your student’s progress or growth in reading and math skills.  The scale used to measure your child’s progress is called the RIT scale (Rasch unIT).  The RIT scale is an equal-interval scale much like feet and inches on a yardstick.  It is used to chart your student’s academic growth from year to year.

How do teachers use the test scores?
The MAP tests are important to teachers because they keep track of progress and growth in basic skills.  They let teachers know where a student’s strengths are and if help is needed in any specific areas. Teachers use this information to help them guide instruction in the classroom.


Parent Toolkit (NWEA)

This PDF is published by NWEA and is a good description of the overall MAP test philosophy and mechanics.  Click here to open (PDF format)