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NWEA Map Testing - What It Is & How It Supports Student Academic Achievement

Updated: Dec 1, 2022


The first round of NWEA MAP Testing is here! From September 21st to September 30th, B.E.S.T. Academy students will be taking their four start-of-the-year assessments through NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in English Language Arts, Reading, Science and Math. Information from these assessments helps us get to know our students so we can best encourage their strengths and set goals to improve academic growth throughout the year.


What is the NWEA MAP Test?

The NWEA MAP Test is published by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) and is given via computer to students in grades K-12. The NWEA MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Test is an assessment tool used to measure achievement and growth in math, reading, and language use. Its structure is cross-grade, which provides measurement of students who perform on, above, and below grade level. The test is multiple choice and provides MAP questions that are depth of knowledge, so that you can see if your child performs at level 1, 2 or 3 of difficulty. The MAP test is untimed, but students generally spend about 60 minutes per subject area.


B.E.S.T. Academy students take the nationally acclaimed Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. MAP tests are “smart” tests, adapting to your learner’s level of learning, meaning they are not too hard or too easy, and give us a more accurate picture of the skills your learners are ready to start developing.


This test helps us know where our students are at academically, and helps inform instructional strategies moving forward to ensure that your student can reach academic achievement. It is also an incredible way to track academic growth amongst our student population. This gives us actionable evidence to make informed decision regarding our instructional strategies.


Results are available within days. Individual results are shared with the family, Teacher and Academic Coach only; collective results are shared by grade level and with no identifying information.


The information provided to us about your learner is vast, and we use this data to create learning goals, adapt our curriculum to meet your learner’s needs, and provide appropriate resources to your learner. Taking the test multiple times throughout the year allows us to celebrate growth and track goals throughout the year and multiple years that your learner is enrolled with us. This is just one point of data we use to understand your learner and provide meaningful and personalized instruction.


MAP scores also give predictions as to how your learner will do on college entrance exams (the SAT and ACT), and career certification tests. This helps us make recommendations for preparation and planning for students to pursue their college and career pathways.


NWEA MAP Tests and Format

The MAP Tests are designed with separate questions for each grade, based on what they will have learned in that academic year.


There are three main levels of test, each covering a specific number of grades, but the individual questions are based on the grade of the student taking the test.


Every student, whether they are underperforming or overperforming according to their age, should take the test that is relevant to the grade they are currently in. NWEA assessments are untimed, multiple choice tests and drag and drop questions. Further, they are adaptive, which means they change based on student answers. Since all tests are given electronically, the difficulty of the questions adjusts depending on how students answer.


For example, if a student answers a question right, the next question will be harder. If a student misses a question, the next question will be easier until the student answers one correctly. This feature allows the tests to pinpoint the achievement level of each student and helps teachers plan intervention for struggling students or enrichment for students who have mastered grade-level content. In online, independent study learning environments, B.E.S.T. Academy teachers are able to differentiate and personalize instruction to meet individual students’ needs.


NWEA Map Test Requirements, Preparation, and Tips for Success

Now that you have a general idea of what the NWEA Map Test is, let's get into requirements and tips for success.


B.E.S.T. Academy students are to use their Chromebook and the NWEA secure browser to complete their assessments. Parents should not offer any help other than helping their student get logged in, after that your student will need to complete the test on their own.


Be sure to prepare yourself, your space, and your devices for testing. Here some things you will need:

  • A quiet work space free from distractions

  • Scratch paper

  • Pen or pencil

  • Device charger

  • Headphones

Outside resources are not allowed during testing – any resources needed during testing will be located within the NWEA Testing platform.


Prior to the test, parents also need to make sure that kids understand that this test can be really hard. Sometimes it becomes more difficult as the child keeps answering well, and sometimes it is hard right at the start. That’s okay. This is an adaptable test so it changes with the answers your child inputs. Hard questions do not mean that your child is not doing well; remember, this test measures thinking as much or more than content area knowledge.


Prior to Test Day

  1. Make sure your device has an internet connection

  2. Disable pop-up blocking on your internet browser

  3. Make sure your device meets testing requirements using the Device Readiness Check

  4. Watch the MAP Growth introduction video

  5. Practice the test at practice.mapnwea.org (Username: grow, Password: grow)

On Test Day

  1. Get a good night sleep the night before.

  2. Eat a healthy breakfast

  3. Minimize distractions for your child as much as possible

  4. Provide a quiet testing environment

  5. Allow the teacher/proctor to open the session first

  6. Follow any additional instructions from the teacher/proctor

  7. Do not assist your student with answering questions from the test.

Be sure to take your time! There is no need to rush from question to question, in fact if a student is rushing through the test they will be stopped for rapid guessing and will require a separate pin from their proctors to continue. The MAP test is untimed, and students generally spend about 60 minutes per subject area. If you need more than 60 minutes - no problem!


This assessment is all about understanding student’s comprehension level, there is no pressure to rush through it and it is expected that you may not know every single answer. Take ample time on each question and allow yourself time to really think before you answer.


What Happens After Student Testing?

Once NWEA MAP Test Scores are released, B.E.S.T. Academy will share assessment scores and create a game plan for closing any gaps we may see. After you have your score and understand the area of focus, teachers will work with students to set academic goals for the upcoming school year. With their MAP test scores available to them, students and parents will be able to see the areas they are excelling in and focus on areas that could use some improvement. We will walk you through creating an action plan to make these academic goals achievable! The results will help us know what students are ready to learn.


Because the test is administered multiple times, you’re able to compare data and your child’s progress over the course of an academic year. In addition, you’ll see a breakdown of subcategories within each subject area. Math, for example, may be broken down into geometry, measurement and data, and numbers and operations. These are the grade level standards tested on the assessment, and you’ll see at a glance whether your child is performing at a high, average, or low level in each subcategory. There will also be a percentile that shows you how your child performs compared to other children. For example, if your child is at the 99th percentile, this means that they are performing better than 99% of other students at that grade level.


You Got This!

We encourage our students to do their best, but we also remind them that this benchmark is not for a grade. The goal is simply to help our teachers customize instruction and to help our students see how they are growing over time. NWEA MAP Testing is a great tool for tracking student success and finding ways that we can best serve you as learners. We love celebrating success and are excited to hear everyone’s result and see areas we can all grow in as a B.E.S.T. Academy community!

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