One way to understand each student more fully is to measure a student’s academic knowledge. During the fall of 2011, we began using a test called the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association, a not-for-profit organization. The tests our students take are aligned to the Common Core Standards. More information can fe found at www.nwea.org.
Part of our school improvement plan is promoting individual student growth and achievement. We give students MAP tests to determine their instructional level and to measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year, in areas of mathematics, reading and language usage. The test results are available 24-48 hours after students complete the tests, enabling teachers to use the data to adjust their instruction and address specific needs. Teachers regularly meet to interpret the data in order to impact student learning. The tests also provide insight into the effectiveness of our academic programs.
The test is given to 2nd through 8th grade students three times a year in the computer lab. Each student works at his or her own rate in mathematics, reading and language usage. MAP is a nationally-normed adaptive assessment, which means that as each student progresses through the test, the questions automatically adjust to the individual. The test becomes more difficult as the student answers correctly; it becomes easier when the student answers incorrectly. As a result, each student has the opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing.
Hudsonville Christian School staff received instruction from NWEA facilitators during two day-long in-services regarding the tests and the data that is available. MAP testing is one way for teachers to be informed about individual strengths and weaknesses in order to adjust instruction and celebrate the academic progress of all students, regardless of the students’ starting point.