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Show of Hands

2 Posts authored by: Jennifer Anderson

Posted on behalf of Lauren Wells

When I was an administrator and a coach, the opportunity to review the data from MAP Growth assessments was always enlightening and provided tremendous insight for instruction, especially in the winter. The winter testing window is a perfect opportunity to share and celebrate growth with students at the midpoint of the school year—when there’s still time to take action. As an administrator and a coach, I found that winter results were my “secret sauce” in supporting my teachers and, in turn, the students. Our winter reports showed me students’ instructional levels, and gave me insights about their individual learning preferences and learning styles, and when teachers used them in conjunction with the learning continuum, they were able to make lesson planning more effective for the remainder of the year.

I’m sure that as educators, we’ve all been there: we create what we think might be the greatest lesson ever, only to later discover that it missed the mark. Maybe it went over some kids’ heads. Perhaps they were missing underlying skills they needed in order to engage. For me, that was always disheartening but, more importantly, it created new work: I then had to go back and revisit topics or skills to bring everyone up to speed. Winter testing with MAP Growth, along with the learning continuum, solved that problem for my teachers.


Once students had tested, my work with teachers began. I started with the Class Breakdown by Goal report. That was my favorite place to start because it put my teachers in the right mindset: we all have areas of strength and areas where we can improve. Working with my teachers, we would begin by comparing their students’ winter scores with how they performed in the fall, so we could see who was on track to meet their growth goals for the year, which students were ready for new challenges, and who might need a little extra help. That gave my teachers a foundation for using the learning continuum—looking at the students’ winter scores and aligning them with specific skills and concepts—so they could create targeted lesson plans and instructional groups built around their needs.


Winter test results were also used to check in on students’ progress toward state proficiency goals and to get an idea of how they might perform on the ACT or SAT exams. For that, my teachers used the Class Breakdown by Projected Proficiency report, which quickly highlighted whether or not they were on track to proficiency in different subjects, as well as their projected ACT/SAT scores. But the important part, to me, was that we could work with students to do better by using the learning continuum to see what they’re ready to learn next.


My students weren’t always thrilled about taking tests, but they definitely appreciated being able to see their own progress, and they loved the opportunity to make adjustments. Winter testing helped me and my teachers make sure our lesson plans were always relevant, and it helped them see that the future isn’t set in stone—with the right data, they could meet any goal we set together.


Lauren Wells is a professional learning consultant for NWEA. She is an experienced instructional coach who has worked in K–12 education, assessment, and educational technology since 2001. Lauren has worked with educators throughout her career, including as assistant principal and later principal for South Lake Schools in St. Claire Shores, Michigan. She received her EdS and PhD focused on educational leadership from Oakland University in 2018.

We know that nearly 80% of English learners in the US speak Spanish—and as a teacher, if you have Spanish-speaking students in your classroom, you’ve probably asked yourself, How can I see the difference between what my students know in Spanish and what they can demonstrate in English?


That’s the question we started with when we built MAP Spanish: a new set of Spanish assessments for MAP Growth and MAP Reading Fluency that cover Reading and Math and are available now completely free of charge. 

We designed MAP Spanish to help you support your Spanish-speaking population, no matter what your program goals are—with the same reliable data that you’ve come to expect from MAP Growth.


Let’s talk about how you can put it to use in your classroom. For this post, we’ll focus on examples with MAP Growth Spanish Reading.


In transitional bilingual programs

If you’re teaching in a dual-language program, MAP Growth Spanish Reading is your opportunity to test your Spanish-speaking kids in their native language, and see their results on the same reports and in the same context as your English-speaking students. No more separate testing for your Spanish-speakers, and no comparison of data from multiple applications.


How you can use it in the classroom: Before you give your students their next MAP Growth Reading test, consider which kids might be better served by taking the assessment in Spanish. Once your class has completed testing, start with the Class Report to see your class’s distribution. See if you notice any trends in the data—how did your Spanish-speaking students do when compared to prior assessments? Do the data suggest that they know things they haven’t been able to express in English?


If you’re working toward English proficiency and literacy in a bilingual classroom, it’s crucial to know how students are performing both in English and in Spanish. That’s why it’s handy to have MAP tests in both languages available; you can start in Spanish, and then transition the student to eventually taking the test in English. You’ll still be able to track their growth as you would with MAP Growth or MAP Reading Fluency.


How you can use it in the classroom: As you’re preparing to give your next set of MAP tests, think about which students would benefit from taking them in Spanish. Once they’ve completed their first assessment in Spanish, review the Class Report and your Student Reports to consider which students may be ready to start taking the test in English; for students who aren’t ready, you can continue to provide the test in Spanish to accurately determine what they know.


In bilingual-biliteracy programs

If you teach in a dual-language program that focuses on both bilingualism and biliteracy (often referred to as two-way immersion), it’s important to have information about how your kids are reading in both languages. Whether you’re looking to gauge the success of your efforts so far, or you want to see precisely where you can target instruction, you can use MAP Spanish to track growth in English or in Spanish.


How you can use it in the classroom: After you’ve given an assessment in both English and Spanish, review reports like the Class Report to see how your English speakers are performing compared to your Spanish speakers. Are they trending together? Where do you see indications that students are growing together in both languages? Where do you see indications that you may have literacy needs in one particular language?


Addressing equity through assessment

MAP Spanish is designed to support the work you do, and to equip you with critical, reliable information about how to support your Spanish-speaking students. It’s also designed to help create more equity in the classroom—so your English language learners can fully participate in the growth tracking process, and you can include all of your students in your plans, without having to manage exceptions.


MAP Spanish can also be a game-changer when it comes to the testing experience for Spanish-speaking students. By having kids take the MAP assessments in their native language, with their English-speaking peers, the test isn’t just accommodating them—it’s meeting them where they are.


We’re excited to see how you put MAP Spanish to work in your classroom. Get started by making MAP Spanish part of your assessment program. Learn more about which tests are available in Spanish here.