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Standardized Testing: Why We Are Doing it

Blog Type:  Lower School
Date Posted:  Wednesday, December 19, 2018

In October, lower and middle school students took the MAP Growth tests. This article will answer some of the questions that parents may have about these tests.

What is the MAP test?

MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress and is a test from NWEA, a non-for-profit association that has been creating educational testing for many years. EB students take the reading and mathematics tests in the fall and the spring beginning in third grade.

How are the MAP tests like other standardized tests?

The MAP tests are standardized because they use the same questions and scoring system of all students. They are also norm-referenced using 10 million US students so we can compare the scores of EB students to other students. The MAP test aligns its content to the American curriculum so students are being tested on the content they are learning in the classroom.

How are the MAP tests different from other standardized tests or the high-stakes tests used in public schools?

First of all, there are no high-stakes consequences as a result of these tests. The purpose is to measure each student’s growth over time. The results can be analyzed immediately and teachers use the data from these tests to differentiate instruction. Students needing support or challenge are identified and given appropriate modifications in their education.

MAP tests are also adaptive and can measure students’ skills regardless of grade level. For example, while the testing used in public schools will simply measure whether or not a student has mastered fourth grade standards, the MAP test can see if they are ready to learn third grade math, fourth grade, fifth grade or beyond. The MAP results can show us exactly what standards a student is ready to learn. At EB, we have developed many tools in reading and mathematics to differentiate learning for students. We can use the MAP results to provide extra resources for students who need more support or those that need more challenge.

If my child is in G3 or above, how do I read the results of their MAP test?

Click here to read about how to analyze your child’s Students Progress Report.

How do EB students compare with other students on the MAP test?

EB students as a whole consistently outperform other US students in both reading and mathematics. This data is consistent with the excellent education that EB provides and also with research on bilingualism. We know that bilingual students have many cognitive and academic advantages over monolingual students. EB’s MAP data also shows that those academic gains increase over time.

In G3, EB students outperform other US students by a modest margin and that gap increases over the next grades. The data shows that the longer a students stays at EB, the more they increase their gains over average US students. Since the MAP tests students in English on the American standards, we can see that students are well prepared to enter into American high schools after EB. Research and MAP data shows that an immersion education does not hinder academic progress in English but actually enhances it.

What other kinds of assessment are used to evaluate my child’s progress and how do they help my child?

Teachers at EB use a variety of assessments to gauge student achievement and target instruction. Students in Kindergarten and first grade have an early literacy assessment which focus on phonemic awareness and phonics. First through fifth grade students have an individual reading assessment in French and in English in the fall and the spring to measure their independent and instructional reading level in each language.

Students in first and third grade take the French Ministry of Education national assessments. Teachers also use quizzes and tests from their curriculum, teacher-designed quizzes and informal observations to assess students. They use all this information to have a complete picture of what each child needs. Our goal is to determine the zone of proximal development for each student, the point at which they are ready to learn new content with the facilitation of the teacher.