M.A.P. Tests Matters

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MAP testing assesses for students understanding to help them grow academically in school.

MAP, or the Measure of Academic Progress test, is a computerized adaptive test that helps teachers, parents, and administrators improve learning for all students and make informed decisions to promote a child’s academic growth. LMP conducts this test within the first few weeks of school, before winter break, and during the last few weeks of school for students in grades kindergarten through ninth grade participate in this two-session ungraded exam that assesses both reading and mathematics. While each assessment is not timed, it typically takes an hour to complete. The test is adaptive, meaning the difficulty of each question is based on how well a student answers all the previous questions. If a student answers correctly, the questions become more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier.

Emily Sitz, a teacher and administrator that oversees the MAP testing, commented the purpose of MAP testing was getting “a snapshot of a student’s learning over time” where they use the test to look at students and determine their growth in specific areas like math and English. The students are tested based on standards, where if they are below or above, the data is used to help support and enrich the student in those specific areas of learning. The data is also shared and discussed between parents and teachers. The teachers use that data to formulate their instruction for either a handful of students or a larger group that are struggling but might not have shown up on a class assignment. 

8th-grade English teacher, ​​Cyndi Johnson, who recently proctored this years MAP testing shared her thoughts on the map testing stating that “I think it can be a useful tool, but it’s just like a standardized test would be, just a snapshot of one day so we definitely need more information than what a one day snapshot would provide.” She says that the only gains and losses of this test are how time-consuming it can be because of how the English language arts is two tests instead of just one causing it to put other curricula on a time crunch. When asked if the test shows an accurate measurement of a student’s ability she was more adverse in her opinion stating that “Having a test is not necessarily the most realistic form of assessment. We don’t work as an island, we don’t work, all the time, independently like that. We are a community and learn better together than alone.” She also shared how, personally, the MAP testing has never shown or told her much that she didn’t already know because they are struggles she has already recognized within a student after the first two weeks of school. She believes the MAP test for her is more of a confirmation of what she already knows but that it helps teachers identify students who perhaps are really high level or that maybe are not producing as well in the classroom for other reasons be it social, emotional, etc.

8th-grader Jocelyn Karakoosh, was one of the students to take this year’s MAP testing. She shared her thoughts saying, “we do the MAP testing to show how we have grown over the year and if we have grown and allowed for teachers to compare what we have done.” She said she enjoys how they personalize the test, lowering the difficulty of the questions if the student begins to struggle or elevating the questions if the student understands them. As well as enjoying how she could see for herself where she has grown. She shared how the hour-long straight computerized testing can be a “lot on her eyes” and makes it “hard for her to focus” because the strain of the computer’s light makes her tired, especially when they have to do the same thing the next day before being finished with the test.

The MAP test is used by all within the LMP community to help improve learning for all students and make informed decisions on how to promote a child’s academic growth. The test continues to be a good source in noting what level of understanding a child is on and if they need support in either encouraging or enrichment within that subject or help in fostering an already high understanding.