What is MAP?
According to the Northwest Evaluation Association website (http://www.nwea.org), MAP (which stands for Measures of Academic Progress) is a “computerized adaptive assessment [...] aligned to national and state curricula and standards [which provides] detailed, actionable data about where each child is on their unique learning path.” The MAP assessment “adapts to a student’s responses as they take the test.” If a student answers a question correctly, the test presents a more challenging item, whereas if a student misses a question, the test presents a simpler item.
How is MAP scored?
Again, from their website, “Every test item on a MAP assessment corresponds to a value on the RIT Scale (for Rasch Unit), so educators gain a deep understanding of what a student knows. RIT assigns a value of difficulty to each item, and with an equal interval measurement, so the difference between scores is the same regardless of whether a student is at the top, bottom, or middle of the scale. RIT measures understanding regardless of grade level, so the information helps to track a student’s progress from year to year.”
Essentially students receive an average RIT score upon completion of the test. This number is used to determine how close to grade level that student is working in that particular content area. For example, an average 9th grade student testing for reading in the spring is expected to earn a RIT score of 224. (A score of 220 would indicate that student is working at an average 8th grade level, whereas a score of 227 would indicate that student is working at an average 10th grade level.) The differences between grade level average scores is not always uniform or intuitive; to interpret any particular RIT score, one should consult the RIT reference charts available on the NWEA website.
The “D” is for Design, Not Standardized… Putting it into Perspective
One of the primary tenets of Studio D is that standardized tests, like MAP, do not provide a complete account of any student’s knowledge or growth. We prefer to emphasize real life experiences, collaboration, real world problem solving, and critical thinking. That being said, we also acknowledge that standardized tests, like MAP, are currently necessary in the field of education and do hold some value. While they may not provide a full picture of student’s real world skills, they can provide certain measures of achievement and valuable data related to specific skill sets and growth. No two students are the same, and Studio D strives to provide an education that recognizes this. On the other hand, standardized tests are standardized in order to assist educators in comparing student achievement levels across diverse populations and in evaluating the effectiveness of their methods.
So do we believe standardized tests, like MAP, can be valuable tools? Yes.
Do we believe in analyzing the data they provide us? Yes.
Do we believe that performance on a standardized test can tell us everything (or even most) of what we want to know about our students’ growth and achievement? Absolutely not.
Do we believe in evaluating our teaching methods regularly to achieve maximum impact on student learning and growth? Absolutely, yes (That’s how we ended up with Studio D)!
All that being said, here are the results of this year’s MAP testing.
49 Studio D freshmen took the MAP reading test in the fall as new freshmen, and again today.
- 24% of these Studio D freshmen (12 students) scored below grade level in the fall.
- 75% (9 of these 12 students) improved their score from the fall.
- 73% of Studio D freshmen scored at or above grade level today.
- 10% of Studio D freshmen (5 students) maintained their score from the fall.
- 80% of those students who maintained their score from the fall (i.e., 4 of the 5) are continuing to score above grade level.
- 69% of Studio D freshmen improved their score from the fall.
- The average rate of increase of those who improved their score from the fall was 3.6 points. (On-grade-level freshmen are expected to increase their fall to spring scores by 2 points).
- 14% of Studio D freshmen (7 students) scored just slightly below grade level today (i.e., late 8th grade level, or beginning 9th grade level)
- 5 of these 7 students maintained or improved their score from the fall.
- 12% of Studio D freshmen (6 students) scored significantly below grade level today.
- 4 of these 6 students improved their score from the fall.