MAP Testing in Schools

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MAP Testing in Schools

Information on trends in MAP testing nationwide is highly limited, and much of the information that is available comes from the company that developed the MAP test itself, The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). Therefore, this information could be biased. However, upon a thorough review combining media, research, and company-provided data, the research team has identified the following three trends in MAP testing: massive adoption of the tests, the use of MAP results to evaluate teachers, and emerging independent analysis that shows MAP may not help students improve.

Massive Adoption

  • In 2004, the MAP tests were being used in 1,300 districts in 40 states.
  • By 2013, the MAP tests were being used in 5,000 school districts across the nation.
  • By 2019, the MAP tests were being used by "10.2 million students nationwide: 47,500 regular school districts; 1,200 charter schools; 1,300 Catholic schools; and approximately 2,500 schools that are independent/not affiliated with a public school district, charter or Catholic church."

Use in Teacher Evaluations

  • MAP tests are primarily intended to evaluate student progress. However, increasingly they are being used to evaluate schools, teachers and principals.
  • For example, in 2013, Seattle introduced a teacher evaluation system that included scores from statewide and MAP tests, prompting backlash from some teachers.
  • The company itself put out statements asking states not to use the test to evaluate teachers, however, this warning had little affect and in 2017 NWEA had to issue guidance for schools on how to use the MAP test to evaluate teachers.

Little Evidence MAP Helps Students Improve

  • While very little actual independent analysis is able to be conducted due to the private nature of MAP data, some additional independent research shows that MAP testing may not actual improve student achievement. One reason for this is that teachers do not seem to be adapting or personalizing their curriculum based on MAP scores.
  • The study evaluated MAP reading results from 4th and 5th grade students in Illinois and found that implementation of MAP "did not have a statistically significant impact on students’ achievement in either grade."
  • There are increased calls for additional independent research on the effectiveness of the MAP test.
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Sources