Updated: May 4
Many public and private schools are implementing MAP testing as a means to track student progress and collect data over time. Personally, I think MAP testing is one of the better standardized assessments that can be used to track progress, so this makes me happy. In fact, I pay much closer attention to this data from my own child's learning than I do to state standardized assessments.
The NWEA MAP assessment is a nationally normed, standardized achievement test which measures what students know and informs what they're ready to learn next by using a computer adaptive test that adjusts to the ability and knowledge of the student.
The most important thing to consider when trying to make sense of your child's MAP testing report is that there are two different measures.
MAP testing data is reported in two different ways:
growth percentiles and RIT scores.
First, the Rasch Unit score, or the RIT score is an equal interval scale that tracks student growth from one testing period to the next. These RIT scores help teachers identify appropriate instructional levels, and set appropriate goals for students based on their current achievement, and what they could reasonably be expected to be achieved by the next testing period.
You should be seeing your child's RIT score increasing with each testing session. However, do not expect it to jump significantly, and do not assume it is a certain number of points out of a total value. That is simply not how that data is developed. The categorization of RIT scores as below average, average, and above average is calculated based on the scores of similarly aged students taking the same assessments. RIT scores are often values somewhere in the hundreds, but they are not out of a certain total (e.g. a RIT score of 186 is not out of 200).
The second type of score that can be reported is a growth score. This is more individualized to your student, and does not indicate a percentage of questions that were correctly answered, or their percentile in reference to standardized overall achievement. Instead, this is a measure of how much growth they made from one test to the next when compared to the growth of other students their same age.
For example, if you child received a growth percentile of 75%, it means they made more progress than 74% of students the same age taking the same assessment from their last score to the current report. It does not mean their overall knowledge and achievement is higher than 74% of their peers the same age.
Your student's progress percentile is an important measure when considering the effectiveness of the instruction they were given.
If you would like information about what your child's RIT score or growth score mean in comparison to achievement when compared to their peers this is a great site.
*Note that the site linked above uses data from 2020
Additionally, NWEA provides detailed reports about their data which can be found here.