Jaime Vazquez

3 Questions to Ask Students in the Fall to Help Them Get the Most Out of MAP

Blog Post created by Jaime Vazquez on Jul 30, 2019

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!