Skip navigation
All Places > Welcome New Members > Blog
1 2 3 4 Previous Next

Welcome New Members

53 posts

Winter testing is the perfect time to use MAP Growth (and other assessments from the MAP Suite) to check in on how students are doing—and determine if they're on track to meet their goals, as well as potential next steps to help them course-correct or aim even higher than they expected. In fact, for many teachers, winter testing is the most important testing session, because it provides both current and projected data at a point where there's still time to take action. 


But there's also one thing that's just as important as checking in on growth in the winter—and that's celebrating growth in the winter! Whether you're recognizing students for their progress toward growth targets, or sharing data with families about how much their child has grown, it's important to take the time to honor and celebrate the hard work kids are doing. 


So we want to hear from you: How do YOU celebrate winter growth in your classroom? How do you recognize student progress, and let your kids know that you're proud of their growth so far? Share your favorite habits, techniques, and stories—and get inspiration from other teachers like you who share their own ideas in the comments below!

If you’re like me, you might be wondering, “Where did fall go?!?”. Schools are always busy handling new challenges, and before you know it, three months of the school year are gone! And while you know great teaching and great learning have been happening within your classrooms—academically, socially, and behaviorally—can you prove it?


MAP Growth winter testing provides you with an opportunity to peek into the learning process and check on how much growth is evident. The assessment results from Fall to Winter can help schools answer questions like:

  • How effective are the programs and practices we use with our students?
  • What’s not working?
  • Do my academic groupings need to change?


Schools that just choose to have a Fall and Spring MAP test session can often be disappointed when they don’t see enough growth; and by springtime, it’s typically too late change anything before the school year is over. A winter test session allows districts to make educational changes to pacing, content, and pedagogy, AND it gives schools enough time for these changes to be evident by the end of the school year. 


Here are the four reports I start with after winter testing to help influence my approach for the rest of the school year.


The Student Growth Summary Report 

In the Student Growth Summary, your school’s mean RIT is compared to other schools that have the same exact mean across the US through our Norm Study.  You can see if your students kept up with their peers!  In this example, Grade 7 started out in the 76th percentile, and grew to the 79th percentile!  Other 76th percentile schools grew 3.6 points and this school grew 4.4 points. What’s your growth story?



The Achievement Status and Growth Quadrant Report


In the Achievement Status and Growth Report,  you can see your students on a grid that compares both achievement and growth. The horizontal line answers the question, “Did our students make their growth projection?”. Data above the line means “Yes”! The vertical line answers the question, “Are our students above or below the 50%th percentile for achievement?” Now, looking at the data in context, you can start to reflect on steps you can take to influence the growth in all quadrants.


The Achievement Status and Growth Summary Report: Fall to Winter


In this report, you can quickly see the percentage of students in a class that achieved their growth projection. The average growth for schools is about 50–55%. How do you compare to the average? What can you do to improve your percentage of students meeting growth projections?







The Achievement Status and Growth Projection Report: Winter to Spring


In the Achievement Status and Growth Projection Report: Winter to Spring report, you can see growth projections for your students based on your remaining weeks of instruction. Each growth projection indicates the average growth for other similar students.

Remember that growth projections are maintenance projections, which means that if a child achieves the projection, the achievement percentile will stay very close to the same one they start with. For example, if Dayton achieves his 5 points growth, his achievement level will remain (or be really close) to the 37th percentile. If you want to close the gap, you’ll need to set higher goals for him!


No matter how long you’ve been a MAP partner, make time to build your knowledge by using the tools or connecting with other MAP partner schools here in the community! Here’s to the continuance of an amazing school year filled with growth and success for all your learners.


Candi Fowler is a school principal in NH and has been a MAP partner since 2005. She also works virtually with NWEA as a professional learning consultant helping partner schools on their MAP learning journey. 

One of the consistent themes across the community is how much teachers are willing to support one another when it comes to getting the most out of MAP results. Whether it's through mentoring relationships, supporting MAP efforts in the classroom, or simply by sharing successes and challenges here on Community, we've seen the powerful things that happen when educators support one another. 


How does it work in YOUR school district?

Who was the first person to help you engage with MAP data, and what made the biggest difference? 


Share your best advice, ideas, and stories in the comments below!

If you use MAP Reading Fluency, you've got access to a tool for tracking the growth of your English Oral Reading students: progress monitoring tests



Progress monitoring tests are quick, 5-10 minute tests where students are asked to read short passages out loud and answer questions about them. They're ideal for getting a snapshot of how their reading skills are progressing, and scores appear on reports like the Student Report and the Class Matrix.



If you're already using progress monitoring tests, what are you finding? Share your experiences in the comments!

Fall has flown byand if your students have completed their fall MAP Growth testing, it’s the perfect time to get ready to use data for family conferences. If you’ve got a lot of data, but not a lot of time, this post is for you: here’s a quick guide to bringing the right data to family conferences, and turning it into meaningful action. 

First Things First: The Family Report

If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out the new Family Report. It’s a one-page printout you can use to give them a snapshot of how their student is performing. This is really the best place to start, because it covers the basics (like, “What’s a RIT score?”), shows each student’s MAP score in the context of norms, and it provides useful projections about future performance based on current performance.

The Family Report is rich enough to spark conversations with families about how they can support their child’s growth goals at homeand there are other useful resources that are worth exploring here, too. 

If Families Want to Learn More

Family conferences are short, relative to the amount of information you have to communicate, so if families want to learn more, be sure to let them know about the NWEA Family Toolkit. It’s a collection of information and resources about the MAP Suite and the research behind it. From the Family Toolkit page, they can see answers to frequently asked questions, view sample reports, and see video examples of what testing is like. (Spoiler alert: one of the most useful resources in the toolkit is a letter you can use to let families know about MAP testing, and encourage them to learn more.)

Lastly, if you're working with parents who speak different languages, be sure to reference the translated family guides.

What are your go-to strategies for sharing data at family conferences? Tell us about your most successful techniques in the comments!

If there's one thing all schools have in common, it's this: they have to deal with the unexpected all the time. And now that it's MAP Growth testing season, that may mean that a new staff member or someone filling in needs to catch up quickly on how to give a MAP assessment! So this post is for anyone who's been asked to proctor unexpectedly, or anyone who's had to remember how to proctor a MAP Growth test at the last minute. 


What you'll need to get started:

  • Proctor login credentials. You should have these in an email, but if you don't, you can go to the MAP Growth site and use the "Forgot Username or Password?" option. 
  • Information about which students are taking which tests. As part of proctoring, you'll be ensuring in the system that the right kids are taking the right assessments. You may need to check with local leaders to determine which tests to give, because it can vary across districts, schools, and grades. 
  • A basic understanding of how it will work. Proctoring a test for a class is essentially a three-step process:

1) you'll log in and specify which kids are testing

2) you'll verify which test they're taking, and note any necessary accommodations

3) you'll get the kids logged in to their devices, you'll start the test, and address any pausing and resuming needs As long as you keep that general process on your radar, you'll be able to move quickly.


Last-minute proctor resources: 

  • Proctor Quick Start. A four-page guide that outlines the steps you'll take as a proctor to get kids testing. Pro tip: read the whole thing through before you take any action—it'll give you a better understanding of all of your options. (It's also available in Spanish and Arabic.)
  • The Proctor Quick Start Video covers the same information visually. It's really useful, and that same page has additional videos that cover specific proctor tasks. 
  • Testing Tips for MAP Growth is a four-page guide that does a great job answering a lot of the "what happens if..." questions. It's even got scripts to read to students before they start. Print a copy and keep it around on test day, and you'll be prepared for any hiccups. 
  • The Proctor Guide is the longer, comprehensive guide to proctoring. You might not consider a 25-page document a last-minute resource, but that's where the Table of Contents functionality really makes a difference. Use the links at the top to skip to any proctoring topic you need more details about. The guide definitely has a sequence, but those links help you use it more like a phone book than a complete narrative. 


How do you support your proctors on test day? What are your best tips for helping someone catch up quickly? Share your best advice in the comments!

Coming back from summer isn’t just tough on studentsteachers have to make the transition back to the classroom too, and that means remembering a lot of details about everything from student allergies to class schedules to the curriculum. In other words, if you’re getting back to class now and you haven’t thought a whole lot about MAP Growth reports, that’s totally understandable. There's a lot going on! Here’s a quick guide to a few reports you can use to get started to re-engage with data and get some insights you can put to use right away.


You can start by getting a sense of how your students did as a group using the class report. This is a good one because it answers several important questions:

  • How did my kids do? In the class report, you can consider their performance from multiple perspectives, and in comparison to national norms. Start with the “Overall Performance” row to see your class’s distribution. 

  • What areas can we focus on for growth? In what areas are we seeing success that we can foster? The Class Report reflects performance in specific goal areas, so you can see where you might need to focus instruction, and you can also see where your current efforts are having the biggest positive impact. 


Once you’ve had a chance to consider all that the class report is showing you, try out the Student Profile Report to see how each child performed, or check out the Learning Continuum to see how you can use your MAP Growth scores to understand what each student is ready to learn next. 


When you're ready to think about your MAP Growth data in terms of the bigger picture of the rest of the schoolyear, check out this post from 2016 Virginia State Teacher of the Year Natalie DiFusco-Funk that gives great advice on which reports to check in with throughout the year.


What reports do you use at the beginning of the schoolyear to reconnect with student data? Share your best advice in the comments. And here's to another great schoolyear!

Family-teacher conferences are the perfect time to team up with families in support of your students! Whether you're discussing how to help them toward their growth goals, or celebrating how much they've grown, it's an opportunity to use data to reinforce how you support each student. 


As you may have heard, there's a brand-new MAP report designed specifically to help guide those conversations: the Family Report. It's a one-page report that both summarizes the student's results and puts them in context—so parents can see both how their student is doing and how you're using MAP data to inform your instruction with that student. 


As we celebrate the launch of the Family Report, we want to hear from YOU! What data do you bring to family conferences? How do you engage them in conversations about growth? What have the responses been like? 


Share your best stories, advice, and insights in the comments!


And if you're new to MAP, and you're looking for additional resources for conferences, here are a few must-read resources. 


Assessments can be a tough thing for kids to connect with—it’s one thing to comb through the data and make powerful realizations about how they’re growing, and it’s a completely different thing to have a student in front of you, wondering what the big deal is about a test. Depending on their age or experiences, they may be unfamiliar with growth assessments, how they work, and what they can do. 


To help facilitate those conversations, and to begin the process of engaging students with their own growth, here are three questions to use either one-on-one or with your whole classroom. Use these questions to walk through how it will work in your school, and to give them insight into the big picture of how you’ll use the data together, and the opportunities it will provide to celebrate growth. 


Have you ever tracked your own growth before?

Kids are used to tracking things like their own heights or shoe sizes as they grow, and in a sense, using a MAP Growth assessment isn’t all that different—it’s a tool for tracking how their knowledge and skills are growing. Find out how they’re tracking their growth already, and then extend that to their learning. It can be hard to get kids past the word “test” sometimes, but it can be helpful to frame it as one of the many ways they’re already tracking their own growth. 


Have you ever taken an adaptive assessment before? 

This is an important question to ask in multiple contexts, because students who are unfamiliar with adaptive assessments may have trouble connecting with them if they don’t know what to expect. If they’ve never taken an adaptive assessment before, have a conversation about how they work, and let them know that it’s designed to challenge them—and that there’s no passing or failing. Whether you’ve got a student who’s used to knowing the answer to every question, or a student who’s never taken a test they can’t study for, letting them know how it works can go a long way toward helping them be successful.


What are your favorite things to read about? 

If your students will be taking MAP reading assessments, you’ll receive Lexile ranges for each of them, so you can assign just-right reading materials. And with their Lexile range, you can search for reading material on any topic, so students can still read their favorite types of stories. Explain to them how it works, find out what their favorite books are, and then let them know they’ll be able to pick what they read about—students often engage more meaningfully when they’ve got agency in the process. 


How do you prepare your classes for MAP testing? What questions do you ask? Share your best ideas and advice in the comments below!

Summer’s here, and while kids loving have a break from school, it can be a challenge to keep them engaged with learning all the way through the fall. In fact, one of the questions that comes up regularly here in the community is, “What can teachers and families do over the summer to make sure their kids don’t lose any of the great growth and progress they achieved over the school year?”


As you can imagine, the topic of summer learning and growth can get complicated, quickly. But that’s what this post is for: Here’s a quick rundown on some of our best insights and tips for students, families, and teachers on the topic of summer learning. 


What is Summer Learning Loss? 

First, it’s important to start with what the science says about what summer learning loss is, and the impact it may have on students. Start with these two articles from NWEA expert Megan Kuhfeld, PhD.



How Can Families Get Involved?

Summers are a great time to get families involved with learning. Here are several of our favorite recommendations for helping students avoid the “summer slide” over the break.


What MAP Growth Data Can Teachers Use at the End of Summer?

The worst part about summer is that is has to endbut the end of the season is the perfect time for teachers to start preparing for their new students. As the season winds down, consider how you can use existing MAP Growth data to better understanding your incoming class. 




How do you support learning in the summers? What advice do you have for other educators and families who want to support their young learners during the break? Share your best ideas here!

Update: You can check out all of the contest winners on Teach.Learn.Growand other entrants here.




We’re back again with another set of entrants from our inspiring teachers contest. Check out how these educators got their kids excited about MAP Growth!


  • Kimberly Elliott from Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona, Florida wrote: “I challenged my students to improve their scores with a different challenge during each testing session of the 2018-19 school year. If 75% of each class (English students in grades 10, 11, and 12) raised their scores from the previous testing period, I agreed I would make them a pancake breakfast, including chocolate chips, bananas, blueberries, and whipped cream. I teach five high school classes, and four of the five classes reached the goal! I joyfully made pancakes most of that day. During the winter session, all students who continued to raise scores received their choice of either two homework passes or one quiz pass. This spring 2019, the challenge is to raise their scores for a carry-in, fun food day for each class.

    Students’ scores continue to rise and meet the challenges…especially when food is involved. Teens love to eat! Students now know their scores, care about them, and are working harder than ever to improve them! This carryover from improved MAP scores was evident by the PSAT 10 scores where approximately 70% of my sophomore students met or exceeded the college readiness benchmark for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.”


  • Tulsa Public Schools told us about Sarah Bailey, a third-grade teacher in the district. “Each student has a Data Binder where they graph percentiles from the first time they took the test to the most current. Ms. Bailey’s students have graphs that show scores from Kindergarten to present—it’s very cool and the students respond well to the visual! The students are aware of their projected growth/growth goals and look at how they can meet them. They look at their levels of proficiency on the student profile and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses for each subject area and work on specific skills aligned to areas to improve through “MAP Skills” or PathBlazer where they can self-check their progress. Ms. Bailey has the highest percentage of students meeting their growth goals—well above 50% every time!”

  • Alaina Bear, a second-grade teacher at Sully Elementary School at Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, wrote: “At my school, my students take the MAP growth assessments for reading and math in grades 2-5. When they come to 2nd grade, it is their first time experiencing MAP Growth. In order to encourage the students to meet their growth goals by the end of the year, my students each have their own data binder. They keep this updated all year with their reading and math data. Each student has his or her own MAP Growth student goal setting sheet for reading and math. I meet with the students individually and discuss their progress. We discuss how they can successfully meet their goals this year. They were so thrilled to track their progress with these bar graphs (which they are learning about in our math unit)!

    Additionally, in order to encourage students to perform their best, our grade-level team doesn't call it a MAP Growth "test"! We have called it a "celebration of learning!" I am encouraging positivity with test taking and telling my students that we are celebrating all that they have learned by letting them show what they know on MAP! I decorated my classroom door to show that we were celebrating learning and then gave them a few treats on the day of the assessment!

    Finally, I hosted an ice cream celebration after our last MAP Growth assessment. We titled this celebration “Meeting Our Goals is so Sweet.” The students could earn special toppings on their ice cream based on their achievement on their spring MAP Growth test. My students were so motivated by this, and I had such amazing growth this year.

    This was my BEST year of student academic achievement on these two assessments! I feel that this year I diligently used the MAP Growth data to drive my instruction in math and reading. I was determined to personalize learning for my students so that they could achieve their goals!

  • Isabel Jomarron and Hollie Craddock from Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote: “We are both ESL teachers at a public Middle School. Every day, we serve students and families from about 45 countries. Our mission is to find what makes our kiddos unique and empower them to find their voice in school. MAP Growth has been extremely helpful in finding our students' academic strengths. Just recently, we launched a MAP Growth pilot completely in Spanish for students from 6th through 8th grade. It was a unique experience that gave us a different perspective on what our bilingual students can show when they test in their native language!


That's it for our contest entries! Thank you to everyone who participated!

Update: You can check out all of the contest winners on Teach.Learn.Grow and other entrants here.


Hello again!


We’re back with more entrants from our recent contest for teachers who keep their kids excited and engaged with their academic growth! Here are this week’s teachers.



  • Jackie Cruz Chabad at Esformes Hebrew Academy wrote:My method of preparing and getting my students ready and excited for MAP Growth Testing starts with an ongoing reminder of how smart and special they all are! I'm always reciting Patricia Polacco's words: 'Every child has a gift. Some are ready to open their gift before others, and that's okay.' Having each student know they have the potential to learn is very important. How much and how far is up to them. 

    The students are exposed to ongoing assessments throughout the year. They are aware of their weak and strong areas. I keep them informed of their progress and provide time to assist in improving areas where needed. As a result, when MAPs Testing begins, they’re excited, rather than nervous.

    Why excited, you ask? Well, To help remind us where we are with our MAPs Growth, we have a plant with flowers in which we keep our scores throughout the year. Each student focus on their flower: it grows as they progress. And as the year progresses, the student's learning progresses, and the plant is a visual reminder of the work they put forth during the year. They look forward to seeing their flower move up towards the sun."


  • Mellichamp Elementary School told us about Audrey Bonnette: "Ms. Bonnette, who is our Teacher of the Year, is the biggest motivator of scholars on our campus. She ensures each child is aware of the individual MAP goals, gives them a pep talk and celebrates the scholars’ growth. Ms. Bonnette had the highest growth in her classroom with 90% of her scholars meeting their goals.

  • An educator at Varennes Elementary in Anderson District nominated CourtneyDickerson--whom you might recognize as the MAP Testing Fairy. They wrote: "I had the privilege of having the opportunity to witness the MAP testing fairy in person. Specifically, I was able to witness a special day in her classroom she called 'signing day.'

    On this day each student dressed in their best clothes and anxiously awaited their turn at the signing table. Ms. Dickerson made a special table where each student would sit next to her and discuss their scores and their goals. Then, each student signed their 'letter of intent.' As they signed their letters of intent, I acted as the 'press' and took each student’s photo at the table with Ms. Dickerson. After signing day was over, Ms. Dickerson printed the photos for them to take home, and wrote them each a special personalized note of encouragement. Ms. Dickerson found yet another way to meet the needs of her students and get them excited for testing!


See you next week with even more teachers!

Update: You can check out all of the contest winners on Teach.Learn.Grow and other entrants here.



This week, we’re going to continue featuring entrants to our recent contest for teachers who inspire their kids to grow. So many teachers are coming up with new ways to keep their students engaged with MAP Growth, we want to honor all of them. Here are this week’s teachers!


  • Kim Kellum, a Secondary Teacher at Bethany Christian School, share this with us: “We are using our profits from the snack program to buy movie passes for Junior High students who score at least two points above the winter test score in all subjects. For High School, we told them if they score where they should be for their grade level in each subject, they would also get a movie pass!”  

  • Amy Stark from Warner Christian Academy wrote: “I try to keep my students motivated with their MAP success by having them fill out a Goal Score Sheet after each test.  By doing this, it gives the students a visual of where they are and helps to motivate them to where they want to be on the next test. I teach them how to compare their score to the Goal Score and that they want to see an increase in points by about 3-4 on each of the test’s overall scores for Fall, Winter, and Spring.

  • Mary Karbowski from the Diocese of St. Petersburg – Holy Family Catholic School told us, “I inspire my students to connect with MAP Growth testing by putting up our Data Tree in the hallway and encouraging the children to try and get higher up in the tree. As we added Winter and Spring data, we changed our leaves to nests and put different colored owls in the nests to represent the different data from winter and spring. Many of the children were so excited and wanted to see more owls higher up in the tree for each of the tests. Growth was phenomenal!


See you next week with more inspiring teachers!

Update: You can check out all of the contest winners on Teach.Learn.Grow and other entrants here.




Recently, we held a contest asking educators to nominate teachers who find creative and innovative ways to engage their kids in their own academic growth. The outpouring of submissions was incredible, and we heard from schools all over with stories of how teachers are going above and beyond to get their kids excited about setting and meeting growth goals. You can read about the winners here--and we're also featuring the runners-up on a weekly basis, because every submission we got reflects the passion teachers are putting forth (and ideas this big should be shared).


This week, we're honoring several teachers at Benton Harbor Charter School Academy in Benton Harbor, Michigan. We received several entries from literacy coach Shaya Helbig, who told us about the amazing work her colleagues are doing: 


  • Nicole Dudley motivates her students to reach their MAP Growth goals by holding a celebration day, with a pizza party and festivities for students who meet or exceed their goals. The students with the top three scores and the top three best growth also get candy bars!
  • P.E. teacher Ashley Buyce motivates her students to connect with MAP Growth by giving students who attained or exceeded their goals a star on their chart toward earning prizes. She’s also organizing an Arcade Day in gym for all classes that have 75% or more of their students meet their goals!
  • Third-grade teacher Zoe Michael has goal sheets posted on students desks. Every day, they discuss what their goals are, and what they can do to reach them. On testing day, she brings in a hot breakfast for them to help them get prepared. After testing, she has a pizza party for students who attained or exceeded their goals. She also has candy bars for students who made gains, but didn't quite attain their goals.
  • Second-grade teacher Katherine Schaub has an ice cream party for her students who attained or exceeded their goals. She’s also decorating her hallway bulletin board with balloons with her students’ specific goals on them!
  • First-grade teacher Tanzania Lawrence motivates her students to reach their growth goals with a party! She provides hot dogs, chips, and juice for her students who met or exceeded their goals.
  • Fourth-grade teacher Sheetal Bhat keeps her students motivated to meet their growth goals with a pizza and ice cream party for students who attained or exceeded their goals.
  • Sixth-grade teacher Wendy Badeau motivates her students to reach their MAP Growth goals with an ice cream party for her students who attained or exceeded their goals.
  • Second-grade teacher Heidi Rupley holds a tie-dye and popsicle party for her students who attained or exceeded their goals!
  • Sixth-grade teacher Erin Stanfill makes a hot breakfast for all of her students who make or exceed their goals!


Check back next week for more!

Update: You can check out all of the contest winners on Teach.Learn.Grow and other entrants here.


Hello again! Thank you to everyone who submitted entries in our Teacher Appreciation contest! We received so many incredible nominations—it’s a powerful thing to see so many teachers finding innovative new ways to get their kids excited about growth. In fact, we got so many great nominations that we want to share them with the whole community.


Each week, we’ll be posting a few entrants so we can celebrate how these educators are getting creative about keeping their students engaged. So without further ado, let’s get started!


Missi Claycomb, a high school teacher at Bridge Builder Academy in Richardson, Texas, took an approach that speaks to the internet generation: cats. Here’s how her colleague Jessica Bialowas explained it to us.


Like many schools, we give our students pencils with positive sayings on them during MAP Growth testing. Our high school students aren't impressed with this as a motivator, so Missi came up with a way to entice them. She attached spoons with a picture of a cat, tiny marshmallows, and a tiny target—giving the high school kids “cat-apults”! They make the students smile and relax before heading into testing. I really like this creative idea!




Kim Kellum, a secondary teacher at Bethany Christian School, found an incentive her students are really into: movie tickets.


We are using our profits from the snack program to buy movie passes for junior high students who score at least two points above the winter test score in all subjects. For high school, we told them if they met their grade-level targets in each subject, they would also get a movie pass.


Check back next week for more!