What is Measure of Academic Progress (MAP)?MAP— NWEA’s computerized adaptive tests are called Measure of Academic Progress, or 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 the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. In an optimal test, a student answers approximately half the items correctly and half incorrectly. The final score is an estimate of the student’s achievement level.

 What are computerized adaptive tests? Computerized adaptive tests are test 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 assess? MAP include math, reading, and language assessments.

 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? Districts have the option of testing their students up to four times a year. Districts typically test students at the beginning of the school year in fall and at the end of the school year in spring. Some districts may also choose to test students in winter and summer.

 Do all students in the same grade take the same test? No. NWEA assessments are designed to target a student’s academic performance in math, language usage, and reading. These 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. If a school uses MAP, 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 school. You may have a chart in your home on which you mark your child’s height at certain times, such as on his or her birthday. This is a growth chart. It shows how much he or she has grown from one year to the next. NWEA assessments do the same sort of thing, except they measure your student’s growth in reading, language usage, 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? NWEA 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.

 What can parents do to help their students prepare for testing? Please see the Tips for Parents section for helpful information.

 What is a RIT? Tests developed by NWEA use a scale called RIT to measure student achievement and growth. RIT stands for Rasch UnIT, which is a measurement scale developed to simplify the interpretation of test scores. The RIT score relates directly to the curriculum scale in each subject area. It is an equal-interval scale, like feet and inches, so scores can be added together to calculate accurate class or school averages. RIT scores range from about 150 to 300. Students typically start at the 150 to 190 level in the third grade and progress to the 240 to 300 level by high school. RIT scores make it possible to follow a student’s educational growth from year to year.

 What are Percentiles? Percentile rank—The percentile rank is a normative statistic that indicates how well a student performed in comparison to the students in the norm group. The most recent norm sample was a group of approximately 1,000,000 students from across the United States. A student’s percentile rank indicates that the student scored as well as, or better than, the percent of students in the norm group. In other words, a student with a percentile rank of 72 scored as well as, or better than 72% of the students in the norm group.

 What are Standards? Standards—Standards are statements, developed by states or districts, of what students should know and be able to do, related to specific academic areas. The MAP test is aligned to MN Standards. 

MAP for Primary Grades

 What is MAP for Primary Grades? MAP for Primary Grades is a diagnostic and computerized adaptive assessments in Reading and Mathematics specifically designed for early learners, Pre-K through second grade.

What kind of assessments does MAP for Primary Grades provide? The assessments available in the MAP for Primary Grades system include Prerequisite (diagnostic) tests, Skills Checklist (diagnostic) tests, and Survey with Goals (adaptive) tests in Reading and Mathematics.

How does using MAP for Primary Grades benefit teachers and students?

  • The assessments provide teachers with an efficient way to assess achievement levels of early learners so they can spend more time teaching and less time administering individual diagnostic tests.
  • It provides information to guide instruction during the early stages of a student’s academic career. Early learners enter school with a wide variety of educational experiences. Early identification of achievement levels is foundational for teachers establishing an environment for early academic success.
  • The assessments help to identify the needs of all primary grades students, from struggling to advanced learners.
  • They utilize engaging test items that encourage student participation for more accurate results.

What features does Map for Primary Grades have that make it a unique kind of assessment? MAP for Primary Grades tests meet the unique needs of early learners by utilizing advanced technology to display interactive visuals and audio for beginning readers. For example, the computer automatically plays audio instructions to the student, eliminating the challenges of early learners who cannot read. Students are able to use a mouse to perform an action.

What do the Prerequisite Tests measure?

  • The foundational skills of letter and number understanding.
  • Letter recognition, sounds, and concept of print
  • Concepts of numbers

What does the Skills Checklist measure?

  • Student assessment beyond the Prerequisite test and are used to inform instruction.
  • Specific Skills Checklist tests based on the desired content focus and sequence.
  • Phonological awareness (two tests) and phonics (five tests).
  • Number sense (four tests) and computation (five tests).

How do the Survey with Goals Tests work?

  • Adapt to the student’s performance level.
  • Provide both an overall RIT score and goal score ranges to aid in the identification of a student’s instructional levels.
  • Allow academic growth to be measured beginning as early as pre-kindergarten through the high school years.

What do the Survey with Goals Tests measure?

  • Phonological awareness, phonics, concepts of print , vocabulary, word structure, comprehension and writing.
  • Problem solving, number sense, computation measurement ,geometry, statistics, probability and algebra. 

Below you will find resources for parents and teachers to help understand and use MAP Assessments:


Resources for Parents
MAP Parent Toolkit – This document provides answers to frequently asked questions about MAP Assessments.
MAP Basics Overview - This document provides a complete overview of the MAP Assessments and the information provided by them.
2011 Normative Data Chart – This document provides you with Norm Referenced charts that Link RIT Scores with Grade Level Development on average across the nation.
 Teacher Resources
Accessing and Interpreting Reports Instructional Resources
PSSA Alignment Study – This document provides a summary of NWEA’s alignment study of the RIT scores and PSSA.                                                MAP Math – This link wil provide teachers with online resources that are aligned to the Descarte in each of the reporting categories for math and will provide practice opportunities for their students.
  MAP Reading – This link will provide teachers with online resources that are aligned to the Descarte in each of the reporting categories for reading and will provide practice opportunities for their students.