A Parent's Guide to NWEA Assessments
© Northwest Evaluation Association
NWEA - Frequently Asked Questions
What is NWEA?
Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a not-for-profit organization committed to helping school districts throughout the nation improve learning for all students. NWEA partners with more than 2,200 school districts representing more than three million students. As a result of NWEA tests, educators can make informed decisions to promote your child's academic growth.
Where can I learn more about NWEA?
Visit the website www.nwea.org
At the Elementary School, which grades are being tested?
We are presently testing all students in grades 3, 4, 5
What is the MAP NWEA Assessment?
MAP- NWEA's computerized adaptive tests are called Measure of Academic Progress, or MAP. 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.
What is 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.
What is the average score?
RIT scores range from about 140 to 300. Students typically range from 140 to 190 level in the elementary school and progress to the 240s to 260s level by the end of the 8th grade. RIT scores make it possible to follow a student's educational growth from year to year.
What subjects does MAP assess?
We are using the MAP tests in the area of mathematics, English language and reading assessments.
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 test.
When will my student be tested and how often?
Our school will tests students at the beginning of the school year in fall and at again in spring (second semester).
Do all students in the same grade take the same test?
No. MAP assessments are designed to target a student's academic performance in mathematics, reading, language usage, and science. 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.
What can I do as a parent?
Three kinds of parental involvement at home are consistently associated with higher student achievement:
Actively organizing and monitoring a child's time.
Helping with homework.
Discussing school matters.
What are MAP assessments used for?
MAP assessments are used to measure your student's progress or growth in school. You may have a chart in your home on which you mark your child's height at certain times, such as on his or her birthday. This is a growth chart. It shows how much he or she has grown from one year to the next. MAP assessments do the same sort of thing, except they measure your student's growth in mathematics, reading, and language usage. The scale used to measure your child's progress is called the RIT scale (Rasch unIT). The RIT scale is an equal-interval scale much like feet and inches on a yardstick. It is used to chart your student's academic growth from year to year.
How do teachers use the test scores?
MAP 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 are some ways that I can help my child prepare for this test?
What are some ways I can help my child with language?
What are some ways I can help my child with reading?
Language Arts/Reading Web Sites
www.funbrain.com Language Arts games and more
www.m-w.com/game/ Merriam Webster Word Game of the Day
www.vocabulary.com Vocabulary activities
www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/words Vocabulary builders
http://helponenglish.homestead.com English help
www.writesite.org Interactive Language Arts and Journalism
www.lexile.com Lexile Framework
www.kidsreads.com Book reviews, games, authors, and more
What are some ways I can help my child with math?
Math Web sites for Kids and Parents
www.aaamath.com Math practice and activities
www.coolmath.com Interactive math games
www.funbrain.com Great site for kids
www.aplusmath.com A+ Math
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ Ask Dr. Math
www.gomath.com On line math help
www.tangram.i-p.com/ Interactive tangrams
www.mathleague.com/help/help.htm Math League help topics
www.edhelper.com Help for all subjects
Did you know?
Parents cannot assume that schoolwork makes up for too much TV. Children of all ages watch as much TV in one day as they read for fun in an entire week. Overall, children under age 13 spend 90 minutes a day in front of the TV-one-quarter of their free time. - U.S. Department of Education
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 Lexile range is included on individual student progress reports. It allows educators and parents to find books, periodicals, and other reading material that is appropriately challenging for each student. Students are considered to be at an appropriate level when they can comprehend approximately 75% of the material they read. This ensures that students are neither frustrated nor bored, and are stimulating their learning processes while rewarding their current reading abilities. A Lexile measures syntactic complexity-the number of words per sentence. We know that longer sentences are more complex and require more short-term memory to process. A Lexile also measures semantic difficulty-a measure of vocabulary. This measure looks at the frequency of words in a text compared to a body of over 400 million words. This is the largest repository of text in the world and is quickly approaching 500 million words.
The Lexile database currently includes over 30,000 books. You can access the Lexile web site at www.lexile.com . You can search titles (both Spanish and English) at the web site free of charge. The regular search feature allows you to search by title, author, ISBN, subject, or Lexile range. By using the detailed search on the same page, you can also search by theme, interest, or content area. Other features of the web site include frequently asked questions, the Lexile Times Newsletter, a parent link, and a reading calendar. Check it out! 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.
Commonly Used Terms