MAP Screencast

May 9, 2010 by wcarozza  
Filed under Assessment, MAP Parent Tool Kit, MAP Screencast

If you would like to learn more about NWEA MAP testing, check out this screencast at: It was produced by Bill Carozza and will lead you through the more important components of the assessment.

NWEA/MAP Parent Toolkit

August 22, 2009 by wcarozza  
Filed under Assessment, MAP Parent Tool Kit

Parent Toolkit

Hopkinton School District, June, 2009

A Guide to NWEA Assessments

About NWEA

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a not-for-profit organization located in Washington State and they produce the MAP assessment. NWEA partners with more than 3,000 school districts representing more than three million students.

This Parent Toolkit was created by the Hopkinton School District in conjunction with NWEA as a resource and guide for parents. It includes Frequently Asked Questions, information on the Lexile Framework® for Reading, Tips for Parents, a list of web sites for kids and parents and Commonly Used Terms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different NWEA assessments used in the district?

We give the Reading and Math assessments from grades 2 through 9 and the Language Usage test.

What are the questions like on the MAP test?

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.

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 MAP test.

When will my child be tested and how often?

We typically test students at the beginning of the school year in fall and at the end of the school year in spring. For new students or those we may be concerned about, we may test in January as well.

Do all students in the same grade take the same test?

No. NWEA assessments are designed to target a student’s academic performance. 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. The computer adjusts the difficulty of the questions so that each student takes a unique test

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.


NWEA has partnered with MetaMetrics, the developer of The Lexile Framework® for Reading. A Lexile is a unit for measuring text difficulty that is linked to the Reading RIT score. Lexile is reported on an equal-interval scale, like the RIT scale. 10L is at the low end of the scale and 1700L is at the high end. Books for beginning readers are listed as BR on the scale. The 150 point Lexile range is included on NWEA’s Individual Student Progress Reports. It allows educators and parents to find books, periodicals, and other reading material that is appropriately challenging for each student. The Lexile range represents a level of reading difficulty that leaves readers neither frustrated nor bored. This level should stimulate a student to new learning while rewarding their current reading abilities.

A Lexile measures syntactic complexity–the number of words per sentence. We know that longer sentences are more complex and require more short-term memory to process. A Lexile also measures semantic difficulty–a measure of vocabulary. This measure looks at the frequency of words in a text compared to a body of over 400 million words. This is the largest repository of text in the world and is quickly approaching 500 million words.

The Lexile database currently includes tens of thousands of titles. You can access the Lexile web site at You can search titles at the web site free of charge. The regular search feature allows you to search by title, author, ISBN, subject, or Lexile range. By using the detailed search on the same page, you can also search by theme, interest, or content area. Other features of the web site include a page for families. This section includes tabs for Resources, Tools and Frequently Asked Questions. Check it out!

It is very important for parents to keep in mind that Lexile does not evaluate genre, theme, content, or interest. Even though a student might be able to read books at a certain Lexile, the content or theme of the text may not be appropriate for that particular student because of his or her age or developmental level.  Also, a student may be able to read more difficult content if it is an area of interest for that child since he or she may already be familiar with some of the vocabulary necessary to comprehend the text.

Some Examples of Books and Their Lexile Score:

  • Green Eggs and Ham  30L
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets  940L
  • Amelia Bedelia  140L
  • Hatchet  1020L
  • Clifford, the Big Red Dog  220L
  • Pride and Prejudice   1100L
  • Bony-Legs  370L
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood  1270L
  • Curious George 400L
  • Little Women   1300L
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall  560L
  • Profiles in Courage   1410L
  • Charlotte’s Web  680L
  • The Good Earth   1530L
  • Jurassic Park  710L  T
  • The Principles of Scientific Management  1670L
  • The Fellowship of the Ring 860L
  • Discourse on the Method and Meditations on First Philosophy   1720L

Ways to help your child with language

  • Talk to your child and encourage him or her to engage in conversation during family activities.
  • Give a journal or diary as a gift.
  • Help your child write a letter to a friend or family member. Offer assistance with correct grammar usage and content.
  • Have a “word of the week” that is defined every Monday. Encourage your child to use the new word throughout the week.
  • Plan a special snack or meal and have your child write the menu.
  • After finishing a chapter in a book or a magazine article, have your child explain his or her favorite event.

Ways to help your child with reading

  • Provide many opportunities for your child to read books or other materials. Children learn to read best when they have books and other reading materials at home and plenty of chances to read. Read aloud to your child. Research shows that this is the most important activity that parents can do to increase their child’s chance of reading success. Keep reading aloud even when your child can read independently.
  • Make time for the library.
  • Play games like Scrabble, Spill and Spell, Scattergories, and Balderdash together.
  • Follow your child’s interest–find fiction and nonfiction books that tie into this interest.
  • Work crossword puzzles with your child.
  • Give a magazine subscription for a gift.
  • Ways to help your child with mathematics
  • Spend time with kids on simple board games, puzzles, and activities that encourage better attitudes and stronger mathematics skills. Even everyday activities such as playing with toys in a sandbox or in a tub at bath time can teach children mathematics concepts such as weight, density, and volume. Check your television listings for shows that can reinforce mathematics skills in a practical and fun way.
  • Encourage children to solve problems. Provide assistance, but let them figure it out themselves. Problem solving is a lifetime skill.
  • The kitchen is filled with tasty opportunities to teach fractional measurements, such as doubling and dividing cookie recipes.
  • Point out ways that people use mathematics every day to pay bills, balance their checkbooks, figure out their net earnings, make change, and how to tip at restaurants. Involve older children in projects that incorporate geometric and algebraic concepts such as planting a garden, building a bookshelf, or figuring how long it will take to drive to your family vacation destination.
  • Children should learn to read and interpret charts and graphs such as those found in daily newspapers. Collecting and analyzing data will help your child draw conclusions and become discriminating readers of numerical information.

Web Sites for Kids and Parents


Language Arts/Reading

Commonly Used MAP Terms

District Average–The average RIT score for all students in the school district in the same grade who were tested at the same time as this student.

Norm Group Average–The average score observed for students in the norm group.

Percentile Range–Percentiles are used to compare one student’s performance to that of the norm group. Percentile means the student scored as well as or better than that percent of students taking the test in his/her grade. There is about a 68% chance that a student’s percentile ranking would fall within this range if the student tested again relatively soon.

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 over  2.8 million 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.

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 100 to 280. Students typically start at the 180 to 200 level in the third grade and progress to the 220 to 260 level by high school. RIT scores make it possible to follow a student’s educational growth from year to year.

Standards–Standards are statements, developed by states or districts, of what students should know and be able to do, related to specific academic areas.