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NWEA MAP Growth Test—Full Family Review by Linda RoseAffordable Homeschool Testing Services LLC
As a homeschool mom, I have always sort of had an instinct that I know where my children are academically. I mean, when you work with them, day in and day out, you really just kind of know what their strengths and weaknesses are. However, also as a homeschool mom, I understand how important accurate testing is. I also understand that my children need to be able to take a test without freaking out. In the past, I have always administered paper tests to my children, so this online testing was a new experience for us. Sometimes those paper tests would turn out to be a lot more stressful than I would have liked. I was more than happy to have my students experience an online test.
What makes this test different than other achievement tests that I have administered is that this test adjusts to the student’s ability. The test progresses through several difficulty levels in order to accurately assess the level of the student. In other words, about 50 percent of the questions are going to be too hard for the student. This is where it is imperative that you as the parent make this known to your child before beginning the test in order to avoid frustration. The test is designed this way in order for you to receive accurate results.
When I first logged onto the website, I was directed to a calendar with testing times that were available. I was able to register all four of my children at one time. Typically testing takes place on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and the results are emailed to the parent by Friday. Because of a holiday taking place on Monday, we scheduled our testing for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We still received our test results by that Friday. This is the biggest benefit to taking this type of test online. You receive the results fast. I didn’t have to wait and wonder for two or more weeks waiting for their paper tests to be scored.
Registering my kids was simple. I received an email reminder about testing that included a link to the test session. The test session was password protected, and that information was given to me when our test proctor called us promptly at the scheduled time each test day. The test can be taken on a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet. You will want to check your system requirements before scheduling a test.
Thankfully three of my children were able to take their tests at the same time. The fourth child would be able to log on and take the test when one of the first three had finished theirs.
The test proctor was friendly, prompt, and professional. She walked me through setting up the testing session and gave the password for the test. She monitored the test from her computer. If at any point it seemed like the child was just randomly quick-fire guessing, the test would be shut down and she would give me a call. That didn’t happen to us, but I’m glad the proctor covered this information during set up. I had been curious how that would be handled. She also gave me some instructions before the test began. Of course, I wasn’t able to help my students, and she said that I would need to just encourage them to do their best if they had trouble with any of the questions.
At one point during the test on the first day, there was a glitch in the computer system. I called the proctor, and she was able to trouble shoot and fix the testing session. Thankfully, my student’s progress had been saved so they didn’t need to start testing all over again. They simply picked right back up where they had left off.
My students took three tests: reading, math, and language usage. They tested in their current grade levels: seven, nine, ten, and twelve. Each test took them about an hour to complete, and they completed one test each day.
The MAP Growth results were broken down into categories with percentile rankings. Each report that I received for each one of my children included the percentile ranking for each test. It also gave a grade level estimate that is typical of other children who receive that percentile ranking. Another helpful bit of information that the test results showed was the Lexile range, which shows the range of reading material that your child should be able to read comfortably. In addition to those numbers, the test report also showed the RIT score (the child’s score) as well as the RIT range (the expected range if the child were to take the same test again relatively soon).
The next two pages of the score sheet, showed my children’s percentile rankings on a graph. These pages also included a breakdown of each section of the three tests. Listed beside each test section was the student’s RIT score and then a ranking of where they landed compared to their peers: low, average, or high.
The remainder of the report included suggested learning goals for each student. Each skill is listed in one of three columns: reinforce, develop, and introduce. The reinforce columns shows skills that the child consistently answered correctly at least 75% of the time during the tests. The develop column contains skills that were correctly answered at least 50% of the time. The introduce column includes skills that were only answered correctly approximately 25% of the time. So the breakdown shows skills and concepts that your child has mastered and those that they need to work on or be introduced to. I actually appreciate this document that is included with the test scores because I can look through this periodically to assess what skills we need to work on. This also helps me to tailor the curriculum that we use to each child’s specific needs and strengths.
These score reports are the most thorough documents that I have ever received as a homeschool mom who has administered standard achievement tests before. The reports are many pages long and contain specific and detailed information for you. You have the option to download and save the score reports and learning goals to your computer and view them onscreen. You can also opt to print them if you like so you can mark on them the skills and concepts you are working on.
We really enjoyed this stress-free way to complete yearly testing and will likely be choosing this method over the paper and pencil version next year. I like to test my kids once per year, but you could choose to test your homeschooled students more often if you like. Yearly testing allows me to see their learning growth in a documented way. I highly recommend this testing service, whether you are having your children tested to fulfill state requirements, or for your own personal reference and guidelines.
-Product review by Linda Rose, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2017