Every school year, students take assessments designed to help teachers better understand what kids know and are ready to learn next. MAP® Growth, our assessment for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade, is usually given every fall, winter, and spring.
After testing, teachers use the results to plan instruction. They should also communicate results to students and their families and will likely use either the Family Report or Student Progress Report. If you’re struggling to make sense of all the testing terminology, here are some definitions that can help.
MAP Growth uses a scale called RIT to measure student achievement and growth. RIT stands for Rasch UnIT and is a measurement scale developed to simplify the interpretation of test scores. It is an equal-interval scale, like feet and inches on a ruler, so scores can be added together to calculate accurate class or school averages.
The RIT scale ranges from 100–350. RIT scores make it possible to follow a student’s educational growth from year to year. As an example of how math RIT scores change as students move from grade to grade, a student may score in the 170s in third grade and advance to the 220s by high school.
2. District grade level mean RIT
This is the average RIT score for all same-grade students in a student’s school district who took the same test and tested in the same term.
3. Norm grade level mean RIT
This is the average RIT score of a nationwide sample of same-grade students who took the same test and tested in the same term, as observed in the latest NWEA norming study.
4. Achievement percentile
This number indicates the percentage of students in the NWEA norm group for a test and grade that a student’s RIT score equaled or exceeded. The achievement percentile is a normative statistic that indicates how well a student performed in comparison to similar students in the norm group.
A student’s achievement percentile indicates that the student scored as well as or better than the percent of students in the norm group. In other words, a student with a percentile rank of 72 scored as well as or better than 72% of comparable students in the norm group.
5. Growth percentile
This number indicates the percentage of students in the NWEA norm group for a test and grade that a student’s growth equaled or exceeded. The growth percentile rank is a normative statistic that indicates how much a student grew in comparison to similar students in the norm group.
A student with a growth percentile of 60 grew as much as or more than 60% of comparable students in the norm group. Growth percentiles can only be determined when two or more MAP Growth tests have been completed. The two most common growth percentiles that families look at help explain the amount of academic growth that occurs between fall and winter testing and between fall and spring testing.
Standards are statements, developed by states or districts, of what students should know and be able to do, related to specific academic areas. Most often, educators are referring to Common Core State Standards, but a number of states have their own independent standards. If you are interested in the standards used by your state, you can find more information on the website of your state’s department of education.
As teachers, families, and students discuss MAP Growth results and other assessment data, having a baseline understanding of these terms will help. If a teacher uses terms you’re unfamiliar with, be sure to ask them what they mean.
To learn more about MAP Growth, see our Family Toolkit, watch our video “What is MAP Growth?” and read “12 common questions parents ask about MAP Growth.”
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