MAP Growth 101: Everything families need to know - Teach. Learn. Grow. (2024)

If your child takes MAP® Growth™ at school and you’re not sure what it’s for or how it works, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know, from what it is to how teachers use it to help your child learn.

MAP Growth defined

MAP Growth is an interim, responsive, computer-based assessment for K–12 students. That’s a really dense definition. Let’s break it down.

  • Interim: The test is taken up to three times a year, usually at the start of the school year, halfway through, and near the end. This lets teachers get clear snapshots of how students are doing often and early enough that they can adjust their lesson plans as needed.
  • Responsive: Each question on MAP Growth is generated based on the question—and answer—that came right before it. If a student gets it right, the next one is harder. If they get it wrong, the next one’s easier. Students can’t ace the assessment, even if they’re answering questions well beyond their grade level correctly. But what they get is even better than an A at the top of a test paper: they get an accurate measure of their zone of proximal development, or ZPD, the sweet spot for learning and growing. (More on ZPD in a minute.)
  • Computer-based: This just means kids take MAP Growth on a computer. Long gone are the days of filling in bubbles on a sheet of paper.
  • Assessment: An assessment is a test. MAP Growth is a test, plain and simple. While students don’t get a grade on it, they do get a score, which makes it possible to plot their growth over time, whether that’s a single school year or several years in a row.

Kids can take MAP Growth in math, reading, language usage, and science. Your child’s RIT score reflects how they did on the test. (That acronym stands for Rasch Unit, a concept that gets pretty technical pretty fast. In the mood to geek out? Wikipedia to the rescue!) Your child’s RIT is the number that lets teachers know where they are academically and what to focus on to move learning forward.

MAP Growth is a unique testing experience for kids because they don’t pass or fail. In fact, for teachers to get that accurate ZPD view into what each kid knows, students will get about half the questions wrong. That doesn’t mean their score doesn’t belong on the fridge (it does) or that cracking open a celebratory pint of ice cream is out of the question (in fact, we strongly recommend it).

How teachers use MAP Growth

MAP Growth is a powerful tool for helping your child’s teacher understand how best to support every kid’s academic needs. In the fall, teachers use MAP Growth scores to understand individual student needs and set personalized learning goals for the year, based on the learning expectations set for your child’s grade at the state level. In the winter, they use the scores to gauge progress and course correct as needed. In the spring, scores predict how a student is likely to perform on the state-mandated end-of-year test while there’s still enough time to modify instruction.

Helping kids focus on mastering grade-level skills during a school year is critical; we all want children meeting grade-level standards and successfully moving from one grade to the next every June. But helping kids stay engaged and develop a deep love of learning is important, too. Because MAP Growth shows teachers what a student knows and is ready to learn next—that’s the zone of proximal development I mentioned earlier—it makes it much easier to design lessons and assignments that keep children active in their learning. When kids are in the zone, so to speak, the new material they’re tasked with learning is just hard enough to motivate them but not so hard that they shut down. It’s not so easy that they get bored and check out, either.

What are some of the ways you might see your child’s teacher make decisions based on MAP Growth results? If test scores reflect that the whole class needs to brush up on fractions or reading comprehension, for example, they’ll likely rework their lesson plan so there’s time to revisit and conquer those topics before moving on to more difficult tasks. If scores show student needs are widely different, your child’s teacher can use that data to personalize instruction. One of the coolest things about MAP Growth is that it helps teachers quickly and easily access materials that can help each student get to the next step in their learning. For example, teachers can use MAP Growth scores to build personalized math learning paths for kids in grades 3–8 using Khan Academy (your school may rely on a tool we created with Khan called MAP® Accelerator™), or they can find the right text for practicing reading and comprehension with Newsela.

Get ready for testing

You’re an essential part of your child’s learning support system. To help them get the most out of MAP Growth, here are some things to try—and just one thing to avoid.

  • DO read everything your school shares with you about MAP Growth. Your school is the best place to get answers about things like testing days and times, technology issues, and other logistics.
  • DO talk to your child’s teacher about what to expect leading up to, on, and after testing day. In most cases, when teachers use data to inform or guide their teaching, they’re using a lot of data from a variety of sources, including from daily classwork and observations. Ask your child’s teacher how MAP Growth data fits in. If they don’t share a Family Report with you at your next conference, ask them for one.
  • DO help your child prepare. That’s “prepare,” not “study.” Students shouldn’t study for MAP Growth, but it’s always good to know what to expect. A little confidence building can help nervous test takers feel more at ease, too. Read “Preparing for MAP Growth: 20 tips for families” for more details.
  • DO check out our Family Toolkit. Videos, guides, and more will let you dig even deeper with MAP Growth. Are you testing from home because of COVID-19 school closures? Our checklist will guide you to success.
  • DO see what it’s like to take MAP Growth. Driver’s ed is great, but nothing beats getting behind the wheel. Try our sample tests and get the same experience your child will (and remember, there is no passing or failing MAP Growth, even if you’re a grown-up).
  • DON’T view your child’s RIT score as a grade. Your child’s MAP Growth RIT score isn’t a grade. It’s a single data point that helps their teacher know what they’re ready to learn next. It’s there to inform a teacher’s instructional decisions, not to label or pigeonhole your child.

Lastly, a moment of gratitude

Families have always been central to every student’s MAP Growth journey, so as you’re going through the process with your child—from setting meaningful goals and tracking their progress to celebrating their growth—crack open a pint of ice cream just for yourself. The time, commitment, and love that you put into supporting learning is incredible. Everything you’re putting into it in the age of COVID… Well, let’s just say that we support you in going all in on self-care, whatever that may look like for you these days.

MAP Growth 101: Everything families need to know - Teach. Learn. Grow. (2024)


How to pass a MAP test? ›

Practice how to read and interpret bar graphs, pictographs, dot plots, and how to compare a table with a graph. While understanding mathematical definitions and graphs is a necessary step in passing your test, there are other theories that have a second hidden method to them.

How do I prepare for the MAP growth test? ›

Highlight important points, underline key words, take notes, and summarize paragraphs. This will help you understand and remember what you've read. Develop Vocabulary: Many questions on the MAP Reading test revolve around vocabulary. Use flashcards, apps, or websites to learn new words.

Is 235 a good MAP score? ›

A RIT score indicates the difficulty level at which the student is answering about 50% of the questions correctly. Although it is possible to score as high as 265 or more on the reading test and 285 or more on the math test, 240 (reading) and 250 (math) are typical top scores.

How many questions are on the MAP growth test? ›

40 to 43 questions

Can you get 100% on MAP test? ›

There is no maximum or "perfect" score on a MAP Growth test. A student's score on any MAP Growth test is a function of both the proportion of questions answered correctly and the difficulty of the questions asked.

How do you memorize a MAP for a test? ›

It's most beneficial to study a map for a short period, and then find a way to self-test a few times—by inserting the names and/or objects (like rivers, mountain ranges, states, or countries)—until it's easy to fill out an entire blank map.

How to prepare a child for MAP testing? ›

10 Tips for Parents - Helping your child do well on MAP tests
  1. Tip #1: Read, Read, Read! ...
  2. Tip #2: Help your child to read like a writer. ...
  3. Tip #3: Read a variety of books and magazines. ...
  4. Tip #4: Build your child's reading stamina. ...
  5. Tip #5: Teach your child that visuals are part of the text.

Is MAP growth an achievement test? ›

MAP Growth is a dynamic adaptive assessment that measures your students' achievement and growth in K–12 math, reading, language usage, and science.

How accurate is MAP growth test? ›

It is also questionable that MAP tests are entirely accurate. There are spurious correlations between individual achievement rates and MAP scores. One school's recent results showed that the accuracy rate of students projected by MAP to score below standard on the state reading test was a miserable 47%.

What MAP score is gifted? ›

The gifted identification process is lengthy and can vary from student to student. It takes the entire school year to complete sometimes and may even lead into the next school year. Please take note below of the times of year the assessments happen. The process begins with a qualifying Fall MAP score of 90% or higher.

What is a good grade for MAP testing? ›

The score differs between grades and according to the child's age. Concretely, high scores can usually range from 240 to 265 on the Reading MAP Test and from 250 to 285 on the Math MAP Test.

Does a MAP test get harder? ›

As the student answers correctly, questions get harder. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions get easier.

How do I prepare for a MAP growth test? ›

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.

How much does the MAP growth test cost? ›

MAP Growth Mathematics annual per-student subscription fees range from $7.00-9.50. A bundled assessment suite of Mathematics, Reading, and Language Usage tests starts at $13.50 per student.

What is a good grade for a MAP test? ›

1st Grade NWEA MAP Test Scores:
Higher Achievement95 84 69177 169 162
Median and Mean50156
Lower Achievement31 16 5150 156 135

What is a normal MAP test score? ›

Commonly Used Terms for the MAP Reports

Most students reach RIT scores between 180 and 200 in third grade at age 8/9 and then progress to scores ranging from 220 to 260 by the time they reach high school.

Does MAP test get harder? ›

As the student answers correctly, questions get harder. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions get easier.

What is a gifted MAP score? ›

A gifted map score is a test score that falls within the “gifted” range on a map test scoring chart. This score indicates that an individual has achieved a high level of performance on the standardized map test, demonstrating advanced skills and knowledge in various areas.

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