How to study for map testing

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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How to study for map testing

7 Ways to Prepare for MAP Growth - TLG-IMG-03132018

Getting ready for spring testing? It’s likely that almost all teachers who prepared for the MAP® GrowthTM assessment last fall learned something along the way. While there’s never only one way to prepare for an assessment, we have accumulated some best practices over the years. So here are seven best practices to help you prepare for the MAP Growth assessment:

1. Be sure to prepare your students. Teachers should set aside some time to speak with their students about MAP Growth, its purpose, and the specifics of how it works. (You can log in to our community, NWEA Connection, to download a poster with testing tips for students!) This is also an opportunity to expand your student’s growth mindset. As Carol Dweck often says, hard work and dedication make a big difference. The brain is a muscle, and it can grow; students can learn and achieve more. The MAP Growth assessment gives each student the opportunity to see how much they have grown—and can motivate them to make growth goals.

2. Schedule time for a data conversation. Assessment data from MAP Growth can be used to inform students and parents about academic progress, as well as to guide teaching, so data conversations will most likely be multi-faceted. Consider peer discussions, as well as student and parent discussions. Are there professional learning opportunities available in your school or district to discuss and understand assessment data and related actions? Are parent-teacher conferences available or scheduled frequently enough to effectively communicate results? All of these things need to be considered.

3. Prepare both teachers and proctors of MAP Growth. Proctors are in a great position to set the tone for the assessment experience and to make sure the testing conditions are optimal, so that each student can put their best foot forward. You can read more about this in our blog post about six best practices for MAP Growth proctors. Often, teachers act as proctors of MAP Growth. This provides teachers the opportunity to see first-hand the questions that are on the test and how students respond to them. Being in the room with students can allow teachers to get ideas about misconceptions that students may have; they can then share these findings with their peers and students as they prepare for the test.

4. Set up the Class Roster File to make it actionable for more stakeholders. Consider who needs to see and use the assessment data. Part of making data actionable means that those who need to take action have timely access to the data. One way to think about organizing your Class Roster File (CRF) is to put the student at the center, and then consider who might need to see the data to better support the student’s learning needs. Multiple teachers may be attached to a student in the CRF. There may be other educators—specialists, counselors, etc.—who work with a student and would benefit from having the same quick and easy access to MAP Growth results as the classroom teacher does.

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To set up your CRF and/or special program file (SPF), follow these steps:

  • Log in to the NWEA® Reports Siteand click the Upload Roster link from the left-hand navigation menu
  • Select the School or District Name and the Roster Term, and then click the Add Files button
  • In the Add File window, browse to the CRF and SPF (optional), and then click the Open button to add the files
  • Click the Start Upload button to submit your files to NWEA

NOTE: An SPF file is only necessary if your district plans to disaggregate data based on special programs, such as Title I, ESL, or Talented and Gifted.

5. Consider scheduling flexibility where it’s possible. Be sure to work with your district to determine the dates of your testing window. To best monitor growth of students across time, a testing window of no more than three weeks is recommended. This testing window should be consistent from year to year for an accurate comparison of growth data. Once the testing window is set up, create a testing schedule for each school and share the schedules with all staff. Be sure to include time for make-up tests for students who may be absent on the day of testing. Only one group of students should be scheduled in each lab the first day of the testing window; this will give proctors the opportunity to test the systems and procedures to make sure everything is working properly.

6. Establish or review testing procedures and communication plans. Before each testing season, it’s a good idea to review your school’s or district’s testing procedures. It is important to know what data needs to be communicated to whom and in what format. Ask yourself the following:

  • Do all staff have appropriate network permissions and software to administer tests, add or modify student testing accounts, or access online reports?
  • Who will be responsible for uploading test results to NWEA each day?
  • What is the process for submitting Problem Item Reports to NWEA?
  • What is the process for submitting and tracking Data Repair Requests (DRRs)?
  • Who should proctors talk to for help with technical troubleshooting?
  • What is the plan for communicating results with parents and students, providing testing status information to staff, or collecting feedback from staff on established procedures?

7. Ensure that your teachers and staff receive MAP Growth training. Teachers, proctors, and school administrators who are new to MAP Growth, or who need a refresher, can find self-paced, online tutorials and helpful information on the Professional Learning section of our community.

There are also many resources available—for teachers, students, and parents—on NWEA Connection, as well as here on our blog to help you prepare for MAP Growth and get the most from the assessment.

how to prepare for nwea map test

MAP® Growth™ is an interim assessment given to K–12 students that provides data to help teachers teach, students learn, and administrators lead. As testing day nears, teachers help their students prepare for what to expect. Families can also play a role, whether kids are testing in school or at home during COVID-19 school closures. Here’s how:

To prepare for testing day

  1. Talk with your child’s teacher as often as needed to discuss their progress. Ask about activities you and your child can do at home to help your child’s understanding of schoolwork. Families and teachers working together benefits students.
  2. Provide a quiet, comfortable place for studying at home without distractions from TV or other electronic devices.
  3. Make sure that your child is well rested on school days and especially the day of a test. Children who are tired are less able to pay attention in class or handle the demands of a test.
  4. Give your child a well-rounded diet. A healthy body leads to a healthy, active mind.

To prepare for the language portion of the test

  1. Talk to your child and encourage them to join in on conversations during family activities.
  2. Give your child a journal or diary as a gift so they can practice writing.
  3. Help your child write a letter to a friend or family member.
  4. Select a word of the week, and encourage your child to use the new word throughout the week.
  5. Plan a special snack or meal, and have your child write the menu.
  6. After finishing a chapter in a book or a magazine article, have your child explain their favorite event.

To prepare for the reading portion of the test

  1. Provide many opportunities for your child to read a wide variety of books, magazines, and other materials. By reading new materials, a child learns new words that might appear on a test. Read aloud to your child, too, even when your child can read independently. Research shows that this is the most important activity parents can do to increase their child’s chance of reading success.
  2. Make time for frequent visits to the library, and let your child explore books that interest them.
  3. Ask your child’s school about a suggested outside reading list or get suggestions from your public library.
  4. Play games like Scrabble , Spill and Spell, Scattergories , and Balderdash together.
  5. Work crossword and word search puzzles with your child

To prepare for the math portion of the test

  1. Spend time with kids on simple board games, puzzles, and activities that encourage using math skills. Even everyday activities such as playing with toys in a sandbox or in a tub at bath time can teach children math concepts such as weight, density, and volume.
  2. Encourage children to solve problems. Provide assistance, but let them figure it out themselves. Problem solving is a lifetime skill.
  3. Head to the kitchen! It is filled with tasty opportunities to teach fractional measurements, such as doubling and dividing cookie recipes.
  4. Point out ways that people use math every day to pay bills, make change, and tip at restaurants. Involve older children in projects that incorporate geometric and algebraic concepts such as planting a garden, building a bookshelf, or figuring out how long it will take to drive to your family vacation destination.
  5. Read the paper together. Children can learn to read and interpret charts and graphs found in daily newspapers. Collecting and analyzing data will help your child draw conclusions and become a discriminating reader of numerical information.

how to improve map test scores

The MAP Growth Test has, over the years, become increasingly popular among schools in the United States. MAP’s unique quality lies in its measuring of students’ personal academic progress. MAP testing scores chart a student’s academic growth in a manner that is easy for both parents and teachers to understand. Preparing for the test can give your child the opportunity to not only reach his or her potential, but to maximize it.

How Are NWEA RIT Scores Calculated?

To calculate MAP assessment scores, NWEA uses the RIT, or Rasch unIT scale. This scale measures the value of a student’s score in relation to his or her scores on previous tests. Each RIT score indicates a point on a continuous scale of learning. These NWEA scores are not to be interpreted as target scores, but rather as benchmarks of a student’s academic skill level over a given period of time. Questions on the MAP receive their RIT values after being tested on thousands of students across the United States. Responses to items throughout a student’s test are used to produce the final RIT score for that student.

The numerical (RIT) value given to a student predicts that at that specific difficulty level, a student is likely to answer about 50% of the questions correctly. Results are scored across an even interval scale, meaning that the difference between scores remains consistent regardless of whether a student scores high or low. It also means that grade level is not a factor. Since the MAP test is taken on a computer, once the child finishes the test, scores are immediately available.Improve your Child’s RIT Score!
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MAP Testing Score RIT Charts for Math, Language Usage & Reading

NWEA MAP RIT Percentiles (Fall 2020 Norms)

5th Grade

   MathematicsLanguage UsageReadingPercentile
Median and
184180178 5

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These NWEA reports show the MAP scores percentiles distribution in fall 2020 based on grade level. In order to understand how well a student performed on the test, his or her RIT score is compared to all of the other results from students in the same age group (the same grade). This measurement is called a percentile, and it tells you what percentage of your child’s peers he or she outperformed on the test.

For example, according to the first row of the chart for 5th grade (you can change the grade with the arrows on the left), in order to score better than 95% of your peers, you would need to receive a 234 in mathematics, a 228 in language usage, and a 231 in reading. An alternative example can be a 5th-grade student who scored 233 in mathematics – a little bit below the 95th percentile, 212 in language usage – a little bit above the 69th percentile, and 190 in reading – a bit above the 16th percentile.

Use the NWEA percentile benchmarks below to better understand your child’s latest test score, compared with others.

There are no NWEA MAP Language Usage tests in kindergarten and 1st grade. In addition, there are no available norms for the Language Usage section for 12th grade because an insufficient number of students in this grade took this section. 
All MAP test percentiles are from the NWEA website.Need to prepare your child for the next test date? On the following links you will find everything you need for a proper preparation. Not sure which level you should choose? Email Ariav, TestPrep-Online’s expert for MAP tests, at [email protected]. Please mention your child’s recent RIT scores and we will tailor the most suitable preparation for you.


Tips: How to Improve MAP Reading & Language Usage RIT Scores

  • Read a variety of texts. Boosting your vocabulary and getting used to reading challenging texts can both be done through making sure to read texts you are unaccustomed to.
  • Become an active reader. Actively reading means keeping yourself focused on the main goals of the text, searching for the main purpose of each paragraph and how it contributes to the overall role of the text. This skill is absolutely vital for reading comprehension questions.
  • Carry a vocabulary notebook. Came across a new word? Jot it down! Writing it makes it easier to remember. You will be surprised how many useful words you’ll come across, especially if you follow our first tip.
  • Practice speed reading techniques. Linked to active reading, speed reading can be an excellent way of zeroing in on the main purpose of passages and thus saving valuable time during the test. Remember: while the MAP is not a timed exam, the mind itself has a limit to how long it can remain focused, so that, no matter what, your time is limited.
  • Practice with MAP reading comprehension questions. Using actual map reading comprehension questions during your revision process can help you get used to the format of the exam and thus keep you from getting get taken aback come test day.

Tips: How to Improve NWEA MAP Math RIT Scores

  • Solve one math problem a day. Math becomes far less threatening when you make the goal to practice it a little smaller. Thus, we recommend starting with one math problem a day and working your way from there.
  • Practice using specific math techniques. Sometimes getting to the right answer with a math problem is all about nailing down the right technique to use. Therefore, take the time to learn and revise various methods of solving mathematical problems.
  • Know the why, not just the how. Especially with math questions, It can be very easy to fall into the trap of answering the question simply through using the standard given formula and nothing more. However, it is important to make sure you understand the formula as well. If not it can be extra tricky when you reach questions that are a little more abstract and a little less straightforward.
  • Go back to the basics. Having trouble with the complicated stuff? No problem! We recommend revising the simpler stuff once more. Very often a simple gap in past learned material is the only thing standing between you and the right answer.
  • Practice with MAP math questions. MAP math questions can be an excellent way to get used to both the format and the phrasing of the questions as well as give you hints on some of the classic “tricks” you may find on the actual exam.

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How to Read & Interpret Reports of MAP Test Scores

A typical NWEA MAP Growth Scores Report, in a nutshell, is designed to show you how your student has progressed academically both overall and from semester to semester. Find out how to read and interpret the different components of an NWEA MAP Test Scores Report, including the graph, table, and descriptors.

Map progress report

*Report taken from the official NWEA Site*

Inside the Graph
The graph in the student progress report provides insight to academic ability and advancement in a four-part fashion:Individual Student Progress: The blue line in the graph represents only the student’s progress and allows parents and educators to analyze the student’s academic development in terms of his or her own personal achievement. District Grade Level Mean: The orange line provides insight into the average student’s progress within the district. This allows you to view your student’s score in a local context.Norm Grade Level Mean RIT Score: The yellow line provides insight into the average student progress on a national scale. While this information is useful for parents, it is exceptionally beneficial for educators, as they can gain insight into district performance in comparison to the rest of the country.Future Progress Prediction: The dotted line in the graph provides a prediction for your student’s future progress, on the basis of how they have performed in the past.

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