One common formative assessment JPS is using for all kindergarten through tenth grade students is called MAP (Measures of Academic Performance) for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. MAP is a personalized screener that adapts to each student’s learning level and is taken on a computer or iPad three times a year to support day-to-day learning.
MAP is student-paced, untimed, and can be stopped for a break and re-started where the student left off. MAP is adaptive, if a student gets a question right, the next question will be more difficult. If a student gets a question wrong, the next question will be easier. The results give teachers a very precise look into which topics students are struggling with in a lesson. One of the most important parts of MAP is that it gives teachers individualized results for each student within 24 hours, unlike the NYS tests, which is often months after the exam. The district began using MAP assessments for math in the 2013-14 school year. ELA MAP was utilized in the middle schools last year and introduced at the elementary school and high school level this year.
“MAP is a useful tool for teachers as it informs us on the strengths and needs of our students on a individual basis,” said Persell Middle School teachers Ashley Keiser and Annika Putney. “We can also use MAP data during conversations with parents that are very specific in how their child is doing in ELA and math. This helps the parents, teachers, and students set educational goals together.”
MAP is administered in a stress-free environment and many students understand that MAP is intended to give a snapshot of whether or not they understand what they are learning throughout the school year.
“Last year I took the MAP in ELA and math,” said Jefferson Middle School 6th grader, Mia Brown. “I think it’s a fun way to test because I like being on the computer. As you get questions right, they get harder. I think it’s good to find out if you are progressing and the level you are at so you can get better. I think teachers use it to teach us, help us and challenge us.”
Research does show that periodic checks, like MAP, give a snapshot of how JPS students are performing compared to students across the nation.
“MAP is very individualized,” said Jefferson Middle School Principal Carm Proctor. “It gives teachers a place to begin and then to follow-through. The middle schools hope to use it in conversations with parents at parent-teacher conferences because it give specifics – maybe a student is fantastic at division but feels challenged working with fractions. MAP will tell us that quickly so that we can adjust that child’s instruction.”
This year, middle school students will also have access to Compass Learning, a computer-based program that works with MAP to accelerate student learning. This online tutorial will allow students to receive individualized instruction both in the classroom and at home in areas that they are challenged, or enrichment for areas where they excel.