February 22, 2019

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Parent Resources

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a non-profit organization that provides Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments for students in grades K-12. MAP assessments are computer-adaptive interim assessments.

Computer adaptive MAP assessments reveal precisely which academic skills and concepts the student has acquired and what they’re ready to learn. MAP assessments are grade independent and adapt to each student’s instructional level. Every item on a MAP assessment is anchored to a vertically aligned equal interval scale, called the RIT scale for Rasch UnIT—a stable measurement, like inches on a ruler, that covers all grades. And because the measurement is reliable and accurate, RIT scores serve as an essential data point in a student’s learning plan; educators can see their precise learning level and respond accordingly.

NWEA assessments adapt according to the student’s response to each question. If the student answers a question correctly, the following questions become more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. The goal of an NWEA test is to provide questions that are difficult enough for the student to answer approximately half the items correctly and half incorrectly. The final score is an estimate of the student’s achievement level, which may be different from the student’s grade level.

MSDWT personnel use these assessments to:

  • Measure academic growth
  • Project proficiency on high-stakes exams (ISTEP+, IREAD-3, ACT)
  • Inform teacher instructional differentiation
  • Select appropriate academic supports for all students
  • Evaluate educational programs
  • Structure curriculum

NWEA Testing

MSDWT students in grades K-10 take NWEA assessments three times each year (Fall, Winter, and Spring). MSDWT Assessment Calendars can be accessed from the Grants & Assessments page.

Understanding Individual Student NWEA Results

After each NWEA testing window closes, MSDWT teachers will send home individual NWEA Student Progress Reports for each student. These reports provide helpful information for parents. Specific items to be considered are reviewed below. This sample report contains sample data to assist with understanding the subject-specific results within the progress report.

Understanding the NWEA Student Progress Report


Is My Child On Grade Level?

The Student Progress Report indicates this in the Percentile Range (Middle Number). MSDWT considers a student on grade level if the student is at or above the 40th percentile.

Is My Child Making Typical Growth?

The Student Progress Report indicates this in the comparison between RIT Growth and Growth Projection. If the RIT Growth is equal to or higher than the Growth Projection, then your child made typical to above average growth. If the RIT Growth is less than the Growth Projection, then your child made less than typical growth. The RIT Projection is based on the past growth performance of students with the same initial RIT score. The Growth Projection indicates expected growth for your child.

How Is My Child Performing Compared To Other Students?

The Student Progress Report indicates this in comparison between Student RIT, District Grade Level Mean RIT, and Norm Grade Level Mean RIT. Student RIT is the student score on the assessment. District Grade Level Mean RIT is the average student score of all same-grade MSDWT students. Norm Grade Level Mean RIT is the average student score of all same-grade national students that participated in the 2015 norming study. The comparisons between these scores indicate your child’s performance compared to other similar students.

How Is My Child Performing in the Subject Tested (Math, Reading, and Language Usage)?

The Student Progress Report indicates this in the Goals Performance section. A score for each goal area (topic or skill) included in the test is reported along with a goal range or descriptive adjective of the student’s score. The possible descriptors are Low (percentile < 21), LoAvg (percentile between 21 and 40), Avg (percentile between 41 and 60), HiAvg (percentile between 61 and 80), and High (percentile > 80). An asterisk (*) is displayed if the goal score could not be calculated due to too many items answered incorrectly or too few items available in the RIT range assessed.


Additional Resources

MAP assessments are a useful tool in monitoring student academic performance. While the information provided above is meant to make it easier for parents to interpret student results, MSDWT realizes that parents might be interested in additional information about NWEA MAP assessments. Helpful links to additional resources are listed below:


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