Why take standardized tests?
Standardized tests are nationally normed. This means that thousands of students take the test and are ranked based on their performance on this test. When your child takes the test, the results indicate where your child is in relation to the thousands of students who were in the norm group. If your child is in the 85th percentile, this means that your child scored higher than 84% of the students in the norm group. This score gives the parents an accurate picture of where their child is in relation to other children of the same age and grade group.
Standardized tests can also be used to track student growth. The MAP test utilizes a RIT score. When your child takes the test in the fall, he receives a RIT score. The goal then is to improve the RIT score by 5 points when taking the test in the spring. Parents who keep the achievement test scores and compare them from test to test will see a legitimate record of student progress.
The MAP results share specifically which concepts in each subject area were mastered and shows the level of mastery. This allows the parent and the teacher to focus specifically on areas of weakness.
How should I have my child prepare for this test?
You should not have your child study for this test. This test is not a part of the child’s grades and should simply be used to indicate where the child is academically at a given point in time. Spending time in preparation may skew the results and prevent the parent and the school from seeing an accurate picture of the child’s academic progress. The student who over-studies in the fall but does not put forth the same effort in the spring may appear to lose ground by scoring lower on the second test. The most accurate picture of where your child ranks against the norm group is taken when the child does not study for the test. The best way to prepare your child for the test is to monitor their schoolwork year round and ensure that they are reaching out for help when their understanding is not certain.
You should also ensure that your child get a good night’s rest. The night(s) prior to taking the MAP test should be pleasant evenings for the child. They should eat a healthy meal, enjoy their evening, and go to bed early. It is essential that a student be fully rested in order to perform at a maximum level when taking the test. Students should eat a healthy breakfast on the day of the test. When taking the test, the student should take a minimum of a fifteen minute break between sections of the test.
Ms. Nora Sierra
Early Childhood Coordinator