Week 3: Evaluating MAP testing

I don’t have a classroom, per say. I teach in the gym and have reading intervention groups that have not even started yet. We use MAP test scores, DIEBELS next scores, and Core Phonics testing scores to place students who are struggling into small reading groups. So, I have been testing students for the past few weeks and we just met yesterday and today to place students into groups. I would be interested in evaluating the MAP tests. MAP stands for “Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) creates a personalized assessment experience by adapting to each student’s learning level. You’ll have assessment data—and essential information about what each student knows and is ready to learn within 24 hours” (Measures of Academic Progress, 2014).


I searched online and found many sites for schools that gave parent friendly summaries of what this testing is for and how it is measured.

It is important to understand that the MAP test is one test at one point in time. It does not measure intelligence or a student’s capacity for learning. When making important decisions about students, school staff will consider the MAP test results along with other data such as classroom performance, other test scores, and input from parents and teachers. (Alken County, n.d.)

I found this to be the heart of what is believed in our building as well. Even though we are looking at three different scores for these students, we are also taking into account the classroom teacher’s observations on the child’s academic performance within the classroom. Our goal is to place students in groups that have similar needs, to progress monitor them (also checking in with the MAP tests at the middle of the year and end) and change their groups as the students needs change.


By collaborating with other members in the building, those who will also be taking small groups and others who have observation knowledge from the classroom, we are best meeting their needs. Collaborating gives us that dialog that can create ideas the other members may not have thought of. Today, we were able to include the classroom teachers in our discussion and decided on creating six small groups and a larger group with the teachers that are involved. This made most of the groups as small as 5 students. In a recent study, Vaughn, Cirino and their colleagues looked at small-group interventions and found that in comparison to another group (that was receiving no extra focus in phonological awareness, word attack, word reading and spelling) the intervention group outperformed them. (Huebner, 2009) With this heavy focus and continual progress monitoring we have been able to increase our students’ tests scores in past years.


Alken County Public Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved from



Huebner, T. A. (2009, April). What Research Says About…/Small-Group

Intervention for ELLs. Supporting English Language Learners, 66, 90-91. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/apr09/vol66/num07/Small-Group_Intervention_for_ELLs.aspx

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), (2014), Retrieved from NWEA

website: https://www.nwea.org/assessments/map/


Shaw, L. (2013, March 30). Educators Debate Validity of MAP Testing. The

Seattle Times, Retrieved from http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020678255_maptestswebxml.html


8 thoughts on “Week 3: Evaluating MAP testing

  1. This is a wonderful topic. I think you’re very wise to put the effort of research into something you are using. MAP programs have been developed and shown to greatly increase the effects of differentiated instruction.

    What are you hoping to measure? What is your research question? Are you focusing on the outcomes of the small groups? Or are you wanting to measure/test something specifically with the MAP programs? For instance, are you wanting to look at the qualitative or quantitative data they collect?


    • I was curious what type of research is behind MAP testing and how heavily it is supported. I decided to change my research focus this weekend. I am planning on looking at how science technology simulations can benefit students in supporting scientific inquiry.


    • Yes, we use it already. Last year we were able to use the data to help guide our groupings. We feel that it helped to increase the students test scores, but you can’t really state that if you don’t have the years behind you to support it.


  2. As I was reading your blog, I thought about some of the conversations I’ve had with two of my sisters in law who are elementary school teachers. When I talk to them about their work, I am amazed at the amount of evaluation they must do with each child. They are constantly looking for learning impairments, physical disabilities or difficulties, family dynamics, etc. I am amazed they have time to cover any curriculum. By the time the kids make it to my high school classroom, most of challenges have been identified and dealt with. My job is simple by comparison. I am in awe of anyone who can successfully teach lower grade levels.

    Studying MAP testing sounds like a valuable endeavor that will have benefits to both you and your school. The built in collaboration with other teachers in your building will make it even more meaningful. It may also make it more challenging as you try to accommodate different schedules and differing opinions. I’ll be curious to see how you combine all of the data you collect. Since you will be using test scores along with teacher observations, you will end up with a variety of qualitative and quantitative data.


    • This is something we started to do last year, so I figured this would be great for an ongoing study. Having many years of data will help to support the outcomes that we see as a result of this collaboration work.


  3. Are you a PE teacher who also tutors for reading? I think it’s great you are getting teacher input while placing students in tutoring groups. Sometimes students can have a bad testing day and place into tutoring who may not need it and vice-versus. At a school I worked at a student was placed in tutoring based on her AIMSWeb scores, but the teacher felt and her SBA scores placed her above proficient. Luckily the tutors and the teacher were able to have the conversation and dismiss her from tutoring, which then freed up space for another student who needed the tutoring.


    • Yes, I am. I agree. It is critical to have that converstaion with teachers, and to have multiple amounts of data collection. We also revisit it in six weeks to switch students around or exit them from intervention groups. I feel that it is such an important piece in their education for some, filling in those gaps that were missed.


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