Why do we MAP?

Our campus has recently been abuzz with students and teachers talking about “MAP testing.” Measures of Academic Progress (or MAP) tests are given in the fall and spring in grades 3 – 8 at ASIJ to test student understanding of reading, mathematics, and language skills. While individual student progress and learning is gathered regularly through a teacher’s formative and summative assessments, MAP tests allow teachers to get a bird’s eye view of overall student progress within a school year as well as adjust instruction to meet the needs of their students. It also allows teams of teachers to look for curricular areas of growth or to adjust how particular concepts are taught.

MAPs, developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), is an adaptive evaluation tool, meaning that the questions presented to students adapt to his or her specific learning level. As the student answers questions, the software will adjust the level of difficulty in order to precisely capture the concepts that the student understands as well as areas of improvement.

Middle School Study Center

Students keep up with classwork in the Middle School Study Center between MAP tests

Following the fall testing session, ASIJ teachers and curriculum leaders use the scores to identify areas of need both individually and across grade levels. Teachers use the data to help group students who need additional support or extension work in various concepts.  When the test is administered again in the spring, we use the scores to look at individual student growth and to adjust our curricular or instructional practice if needed. Because the purpose of MAPs is to show growth, we share the overall growth with parents during the spring rather than focus on the “score” obtained during the two testing sessions. As part of our Annual Reporting Process we also publish our students overall performance and make comparisons with averages from benchmark schools in the East Asia region. ASIJ students in general perform very well against these schools. (See ASIJ’s test scores)

ASIJ teachers do a wonderful job of helping students to understand that the purpose of testing is so that teachers know what that student should learn next. The atmosphere in the classrooms during test sessions is generally relaxed and very positive—testament to the message that we send regarding MAP testing. (Elizabeth Hubbell, Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning)

If you’d like to learn more about MAPs, feel free to contact us or visit https://www.nwea.org/assessments/map.