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MAP Test 102 - Interpret MAP Scores with Research Data

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

(*Disclaimer: There is not an official conversion table for MAP score to grade-level. There are research and tables generated from previous student data that relate the MAP scores with grade level or standardized test level. Please use the following data as a reference only.)


Comparing your child's scores to the research outcome can give you more insights into your child's ability. In this post, we will review two research and guide you through interpreting your child's score.


Research using 2008 MAP data

This MAP score to grade-level translation chart was generated with MAP data from 2008. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of detail about the author of the table. I discovered these tables when I was looking for additional resources to interpret MAP data while I was teaching 5th grade. I found the scores for 5th grade to be a fair representation of actual student performance. Please note that the scores and percentiles were generated based on 2008 RIT Norms and there might be slight adjustments now given the year and changes in curriculum.


DATA

Most school districts conduct MAP testing three times a year, one in the fall, one in the winter, and one in the spring. When you use the translation chart, compare your child's score to the corresponding grade level and season.

Here's the chart for math (Table 1):


Here's the chart for reading (Table 2):

The charts above are from Bullitt County Public Schools website. Click HERE for details.

 

SCORE INTERPRETATION

Here is an example of how to use the chart.

Sarah is a 5th grader who just took her second MAP test of the year in December. She received 224 for math and 214 for reading.


Given that this is the second MAP test of the school year, we will reference winter scores. In 5th grade math, The low performing students score below 210. The average performing students score between 210 and 222. The high performing students score above 222. Given that Sarah received 224 in math, she is likely a high performing student in math.

In 5th grade reading, the low performing students score below 205. The average performing students score between 205 and 216. The high performing students score above 216. Given that Sarah received 214 in reading, she is likely an average performing student in reading.

The MAP score is one of the many pieces of data you can use to evaluate your child's performance. There might be some variance in the group your child falls into based on the chart (Low-Average-High) compared to their grouping at school. There might be nuances in a child's scores as there could be various factors affecting your child during the test. To get a complete picture of your child's performance, review all other resources available such as their school assessments, and speak with the teacher.


 

Research using 2015 MAP Data

In 2016, researchers at NWEA used MAP Growth Scores from 2015 to predict students' performance on the New Jersey State Learning Assessment (NJSLA). NJSLA is the standardized tests in the state of New Jersey. Since the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires states to test students in reading and math in 3rd through 8th grade and once in high school, every state has its version of standardized tests. The scoring of standardized testing is different in every state, so we will focus on how the researchers categorize MAP scores instead of the actual standardized test score prediction.


Before diving into the data, it is crucial to understand the scoring categories in standardized tests. Even though every state can use its terminologies, the underlying concept is basically the same. Here are the frequently used categories:


Did not meet/Did not yet meet

The student's academic ability is not on grade-level. They lack essential skills from previous grade levels, making it difficult for them to proceed with the current grade level.


Partially Met (only available in some states)

The student's academic ability is not on grade-level. They might have picked up some skills from the current grade-level, but there are likely gaps from previous school years.


Approached

The student's academic ability is not on grade-level, but they are not far from it. If they receive sufficient intervention, they can progress to meet grade-level. However, they are also at risk of falling behind without proper intervention.


Met

The student's academic ability is on grade-level and shows readiness for the next grade level. Depending on their performance, some of them may take honors and advanced classes.


Exceeded/Mastered

The student's academic ability is on or exceeded the grade level and shows readiness for the next grade level. Students who fall into this category are prepared for honors and advanced classes of the subject they excel.


Reference: 2018-2019 New Jersey School Performance Reports: Reference Guide by the Department of Education of the state of New Jersey (https://rc.doe.state.nj.us/Documents/1819/ReferenceGuide.pdf)

 

DATA

Students who are in the "Met" or "Exceeded" category are most likely to be ready for the next grade level. Those who fall into "Did not meet", "Partially met", or "Approached" will benefit from additional help. With that in mind, we will look into the MAP score range that falls into each category according to the research.



Here's the chart for MAP Growth Math scores from Spring (end of the school year) tests:


Here's the chart for MAP Growth Reading scores from Spring (end of school year) tests:


If you compare the scores on the above charts with our first research, you may notice that the scores here are much higher. This research tries to find a reliable test score that can accurately project a student's standardized test result. In other words, researchers are listing the scores that they think students will need to receive specific performance levels on NSJLA. In reality, MAP scores are just one of the tools to predict a child's performance. The best estimation will come from evaluating all metrics.

 

SCORE INTERPRETATION

To better understand the research results and their nuances, we will use a few students as examples. Here are the student profile examples:

  1. John, 4th grade, took the Spring MAP test and received 208 for math and 228 for reading (See red boxes below)

  2. Shanice, 5th grade, took the Spring MAP test and received 230 for math and 222 for reading (See blue boxes below)


Math

In 4th grade, students with 222 or above are projected to achieve Level 4 (Met) on the standardized test. John's math score is 208, and it falls into the range for Level 2, 199-210. If we look at the percentile, 208 will put John at the mid or high 30 percentile compared to all other test-takers in the sample data (collected from over 300 schools).


In 5th grade, students with 231 or above are projected to achieve Level 4 (Met) on the standardized test. Shanice's score is 230, and it falls into the range for Level 3 (217-230). 230 will put Shanice at the 71st percentile among all other test-takers.


John's score is projected to receive Level 2 (Partially Met) on the NSJLA, but his score is also close to the lower bound of Level 3 (211-221). This could indicate that John has the ability to reach a level up, but he will likely need additional support. He might also need some reinforcements on topics from previous years. Given that this test is taken in the spring, John's score indicates that he has not shown readiness for the next grade-level. The best thing John's parents can do is to speak with the teacher and ask for summer activity suggestions to help him transition to the next grade.


Shanice's score is projected to receive Level 3 (Approached) on the NSJLA, but her score is also close to the lower bound of Level 4 (231-240). Shanice's score shows that she likely has a decent understanding of most grade-level topics, but she might have trouble with just one of two of them or she might be distracted during the MAP test. To further evaluate Shanice's ability, we need to look at other assessments and metrics. Shanice is ready or very close to ready for the next grade level. The best thing Shanice's parents can do is to make sure that there are no gaps in Shanice's understanding of 5th-grade material before she enters 6th grade, and if there is any, use the summer break to reinforce those concepts.


Reading

In 4th grade, students with 213 or above are projected to achieve Level 4 (Met) on the standardized test. John's math score is 228, and it falls into the range for Level 5 (Exceeded), 228-350. If we look at the percentile, 228 will put John at the 93rd percentile compared to all other test-takers in the sample data (collected from over 300 schools).


In 5th grade, students with 221 or above are projected to achieve Level 4 (Met) on the standardized test. Shanice's score is 230, and it falls into the range for Level 3 (217-230). 230 will put Shanice at the 71st percentile among all other test-takers.


John's score, 228, is projected to receive Level 5 (Exceeded) on the NSJLA. Given that this test is taken in the spring, John's score indicates that he has likely mastered 4th-grade material and is ready for the next grade level. The best thing John's parents can do is to make sure John has access to books with sufficient rigor so that he can continue to grow as a reader. They can also work with the teacher to develop passion projects for John to further challenge his skills.


Shanice's score, 222, is projected to receive Level 4 (Met) on the NSJLA. Shanice's score shows that she has a decent understanding of grade-level topics and is ready for the next grade level. The best thing Shanice's parents can do is to evaluate other assessment metrics and speak with the teacher to make sure that Shanice is indeed on grade level. If she has an area of weakness, provide her with additional support. Otherwise, encourage Shanice to continue reading and grow as a reader.

 

ADDITIONAL DATA FOR REFERENCE

Aside from providing MAP score ranges for the spring MAP tests for NSJLA prediction, researchers also generated score ranges for the Fall and Winter MAP tests. To interpret those scores, use your child's fall or winter MAP scores and match them with the ranges on the charts. The five performance levels defined in the charts below are the same as the levels listed in the spring chart. Here are the charts for fall and winter MAP scores:


Here's the chart for MAP Growth Math scores from Fall (top part) and Winter (bottom part):


Here's the chart for MAP Growth Reading scores from Fall tests:


Here's the chart for MAP Growth Reading scores from the Winter tests:


There are a lot of benefits in analyzing your child's MAP scores from the fall and winter. The fall MAP test is often taken in the first month of the school year. By comparing your child's fall MAP score with their score spring test score from the previous year, it will show you if your child has experienced any summer learning loss. If there is a drop in the scores in the fall, then it is a sign of regression. The best thing to do is to speak with your child about the results and come up with learning goals for the new school year to ensure growth.


Analyzing the winter MAP test scores will give you an idea of how much your child has grown in the first semester. If there is a drop in the scores in the winter compared to the fall, then it is a sign of regression. The best thing to do is to speak with your child about the results, reset expectations, and discuss with the teacher about necessary intervention.

All the above charts are extracted from the following study - Linking Study Report: Predicting Performance on the New Jersey State Learning Assessment (NJSLA) based on MAP Growth Scores published by NWEA Psychometric Solutions. If you are interested in reading the entire research, please visit https://www.nwea.org/content/uploads/2020/02/NJ-MAP-Growth-Linking-Study-Report-FEB2020.pdf.

 

I know all these data might seem overwhelming, but they do include valuable information for you to interpret and analyze your child's scores and growth better. I hope this blog post helps you to understand your child's performance. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. :)

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