MAP Resource Page

This page is designed and maintained so that you, the UAS parent community, can easily find information and answers to your questions concerning the use of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests. We hope that by using the links below that you will find the information you are looking for. If you have questions that you cannot find the answers to on this site, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal for more information or assistance.


Quick Links

MAP Overview
MAP Parent Toolkit
MAP Parent Presentation (requires MS Powerpoint)
MAP Basics Overview
Glossary Of Terms
2011 U.S. MAP Data Norms

MAP Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different NWEA assessments used at UAS?
We give the Reading, Language Usage, and Math assessments from grades 2 through 10. Additionally, we give Reading and Math to KG2-1.

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. However, students are given whatever time they need to finish each MAP test they take.

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 based on their instructional level.

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.

What is a RIT Score?
the RIT scale is an equal interval scale. Equal interval means that the difference between scores is the same regardless of whether a student is at the top, bottom, or middle of the RIT scale, and it has the same meaning regardless of grade level.

RIT scales, like scales underlying most educational tests, are built from data about the performance of individual examinees on individual items. The theory governing scale construction is called Item Response Theory (IRT). NWEA uses a specific IRT model conceived by Danish mathematician, Georg Rasch, (1901-1980). Rasch is best known for his contributions to psychometrics, and his model is used extensively in assessment in education, particularly for skill attainment and cognitive assessments.

Characteristics of the RIT Scale include:
•It is an achievement scale.
•It is an accurate scale.
•It is an equal interval scale.
•It helps to measure growth over time.
•It has the same meaning regardless of grade or age of the student.

To learn more about the RIT scale and how it is used a standardized measure please view this video from NWEA.
RIT 101

What if my child’s score goes down between two test events (Negative Growth)?
While we cannot always ascertain why an anomaly occurred, it is necessary that we gather information around the event in order to inform an appropriate response. How much time did the student take to complete the test? How much negative growth was actually observed? Have living conditions changed at home? Is the student suffering from poor attitude, anxiety, or motivation issues? Have there been changes in the student’s attendance or in classroom instruction? Is the data consistent with other classroom data? These questions are provided as a resource at the end of this article and are encouraged to be used when examining students’ scores. Gathering information around these questions can help inform our response, which generally would involve a combination of the following two actions:

1. Determining the need to retest the student (critical if the drop is more than 10 RIT)

2. Determining the need to adjust instruction (utilizing DesCartes)

To read more about negative growth please refer to the link below:

Are my child’s the MAP Test results normed to other students?
Currently all MAP RIT scores are normed to students using the 2011 U.S. NWEA Data Norms. We anticipate to start being able to use the NWEA international school norms in the next 1-2 years when these norms have enough data compiled to be statistically relevant.

What is a Lexile Score?
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.

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. 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

Can I help my child prepare for a MAP Test?
In a word, no. Because each test it tailored to your child’s instructional level, MAP Tests assess the optimal instructional level for your child. Because every child is different so is every MAP test. However, below are some suggestions to help strengthen your child’s Language, Reading Skills and Math:

Ways to help your child with language usage

  • 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.

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