What is the MAP test?

MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress. It is a test that Niles Elementary School District 71 uses to measure what students have learned in math, reading and writing. The district administers the MAP twice per year, in the fall and spring. The MAP has replaced other standardized tests.

Many of the school-wide or grade-wide tests given to students are traditional standardized tests. This means that every student takes exactly the same test and their results are compared to other students their age.

The MAP is different in that not all students see the same questions. The MAP is an “adaptive test” that can adjust the difficulty of the questions to the level of the student. The test, which has no time limit, will start with a question that matches the student’s grade level. If the student answers the question incorrectly, the computer will pick an easier question for the next one. The remaining questions are determined by the student’s performance on previous questions.

How is the MAP different from other tests?

Traditional standardized tests, such as the PARCC, compare an individual student's performance to a large group of other students his or her age. These tests are helpful for determining whether students have met certain academic standards. However, if a student is performing below grade level, he or she might not be able to understand very many questions, and the test can be very frustrating. The results would show that the student is performing below grade level, but would give very little information about his or her actual learning needs or progress.

The MAP is different. Because it adapts to the level of the test-taker, it can show parents and teachers the student's current instructional level and identify concepts that the student might be ready to learn. When the student takes the test again later in the school year, the results can be used to measure the student’s progress and identify new concepts to focus on.

How is the MAP scored?

Since the MAP is taken on a computer, the test score is available as soon as the student finishes. The score is given as a Rasch Unit (RIT), which is based on a special type of number scale used to measures student achievement. RIT scores will vary from grade to grade as a student grows.

On the reading portion of the MAP, scores called Lexile Measures are also given. Lexile Measures score the student’s reading ability on a scale from 5 to 2000.  Scores are shown with the letter “L” after them (15L, 1050L, etc). By knowing a student’s Lexile Measure, teachers can match the student with a book that is appropriate for his or her reading level. For example, if a student receives a Lexile Measure of 380L, his teacher might start him with a book that has been rated as having a 380L difficulty level.