The Power of MAP Growth

By Kelly Reilly, Principal

How many of you remember taking those good ‘ole fill in the bubble standardized tests in elementary school?  In my memory bank, it seemed like the testing went on for a month, even though I know it wasn’t really that long.  I always wondered, “Why do we have to take this test anyway?  School is almost over, and it doesn’t count as a grade anyway!”  I’m sure student’s today have similar feelings about that type of test, which is why, 3-years ago, HTLS made a change to using the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth standardized test for our Elementary students.

MAP Growth is a computer adaptive test that measures what students know, regardless of grade level.  When a student answers a question correctly, the difficulty level increases.  If they answer incorrectly, the level eases up.  Over the past few years we have found that students enjoy taking the test because it is interactive and there is no pressure to always get the right answer.  Their goal is just to do their very best.  The staff was enthusiastic to make the transition to the test because of the level of information that it would provide them about a student’s progress and the speed at which we would receive those results…within 24 hours!  Because MAP Growth is administered three times during the school year (Fall, Winter & Spring), it provides the teachers with powerful, real-time, tangible information to use to inform instruction throughout the school year. 

Our students completed their first testing session of the year at the beginning of October.  The teachers received the results and, together with the administration, have been analyzing them to determine the best course of action to meet the students’ needs.  This year we are starting something new…MAP Power Hour Parties!  Twice per month, the students will be grouped based on the needs identified by the MAP Growth tests and spend focused time working on those skills.  Whether its skills that students haven’t mastered and need more time with or advanced skills they are ready to cover, the teachers will plan lessons, games, activities to engage the students in that group to meet their specific needs.  Power Hour Parties will begin in November….so be sure to check in with your student to see what they’ve learned!