A Parent's Guide to NWEA Assessments
© 2006 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
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 start at the 140 to 190 level in the third grade and progress to the 240 to 300 level by high school. 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 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?
Districts have the option of testing their students up to four times a year. Districts typically test students at the beginning of the school year in fall and at the end of the school year in spring. Some districts may also choose to test students in the summer.
Do all students in the same grade take the same test?
No. NWEA 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. If a school uses MAP, 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 NWEA assessments used for?
NWEA 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. NWEA assessments do the same sort of thing, except they measure your student’s growth in mathematics, reading, language usage, and science skills. 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?
NWEA 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?
Meet with your child’s teacher as often as needed to discuss his or her progress.
Ask the teacher to suggest activities for you and your child to do at home to help prepare for tests and improve your child’s understanding of schoolwork. Parents and teachers working together benefits students.
Provide a quiet, comfortable place for studying at home.
Make sure that your child is well rested on school days and especially the day of a test. Children who are tired are less
able to pay attention in class or to handle the demands of a test.
Give your child a well-rounded diet. A healthy body leads to a healthy, active mind.
Provide books and magazines for your child to read at home. By reading new materials, a child learns new words that might appear on a test. Ask your child’s school about a suggested outside reading list or get suggestions from the public library.