December 12, 2014

MAP Testing and Academic Goal Setting Coordinated by the High School Library Staff

•  In the fall of 2007, Lexington Public Schools began using a test instrument developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association.  This not-for-profit group has history that dates back to 1971 and now claims 7400 partner schools across the country and around the globe.  In the fall and in the spring of each school year, Lexington students in grades 2 to 11 take a MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) reading and math assessment on the computer.  As students answer questions, the computer adjusts the difficulty of the questions so that each student takes a unique test.  MAP tests are not timed.  NWEA MAP assessments measure a student’s academic achievement not his or her ability.  Achievement is evidence of what a student has learned and can do. Ability describes a student’s capacity to learn, independent of what has been achieved.   MAP assessments use a scale called RIT to measure student achievement and growth.  RIT stands for Rasch unIT, a measurement scale developed to simplify the interpretation of test scores.  RIT is an equal interval score like feet and inches.  Using RIT scores make it possible to follow a student’s educational growth from year to year, similar to measuring height in feet and inches.

•  At the high school, grades nine, ten, and eleven take MAP tests in reading and math.  At the start of their freshman year, ninth graders in school year 2014-2015 had seven years of score history (first tested in the fall of their 2nd grade year).  At LHS, before the MAP test begins, students are given a copy of their personal math and reading score history to review.  The immediate goal is to score their best ever RIT.  When the test is completed, the student records his/her new score information.   This goal sheet is then sent to the student’s homeroom teacher for the student to determine an academic action plan and to set a RIT goal for the next test season based on the best ever score.  The expectation at Lexington High School is to always give best effort.   NWEA MAP tests have been given to over 10 million students and there is sufficient data to predict probable ACT and NeSA (Nebraska Student Assessments) scores.  Using MAP data and other indicators, additional classes have been included in the high school curriculum to further prepare LHS students for college/career readiness. 

•  Goal setting for juniors has recently been updated to include conversations about higher education plans and ACT score / NeSA proficiency projections.  It is never too soon to begin making plans for life after high school.  Students are always encouraged to have further conversations with their guidance counselor.  The college/career ready RIT benchmark gives students a target for growth in both math and reading.  It takes hard work by the student to maximize learning potential.  Providing students accurate information about their learning growth encourages and deepens understanding about the learning skills mastered and those skills, which need further development.