Educators Using Data/Assessment To Inform Practices

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Read the article “Make Assessment Relevant“, NWEA 2014, and respond by discussing the 3 key findings on how educators view assessment.

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Make Assessment

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3 Key Findings on Student Perceptions of Assessment

3 Ways Educators Can Engage Students in the Assessment Process

3 Key Findings on How Educators View Assessment

Top 3 Ways MAP Makes Assessment Personal

Partnering to Help All Kids Learn® | | 503.624.1951 | 121 NW Everett St., Portland, OR 97209

Wondering what students think—and know—about assessment? In 2014 Northwest Evaluation Association™
(NWEA™) commissioned a nationally representative survey that asked students, teachers, and district
administrators what they thought about assessment. It’s the first time any formal study has asked students’
opinions, and their responses are making news across the country.

Across all groups surveyed, you’ll see strong agreement that there’s a need for assessments that directly inform
teaching and learning.

We’ve compiled the study’s highlights into four distinct sections:

3 Key Findings on Student Perceptions of Assessment

Opinions from those closest to assessment

3 Ways Educators Can Engage Students in the Assessment Process

Recommendations for engaging students in the what, when, why, and how of assessment and
its accompanying results

3 Key Findings on How Educators View Assessment

Thoughts on using assessment data to directly inform teaching and learning

Top 3 Ways MAP Makes Assessment Personal

Features that make Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) K – 12 interim assessments unique

For the full results, read Make Assessment Matter: Students and Educators Want Tests that Support Learning, an
independent study conducted by Grunwald Associates LLC.

Partnering to Help All Kids Learn® | | 503.624.1951 | 121 NW Everett St., Portland, OR 97209

3 Key Findings on Student
Perceptions of Assessment
Give students a voice in the assessment debate and they’ll share freely.

One: The vast majority of students
recognize that assessment plays a
valid role in their education—and in
their futures. They understand that
assessments, overall, are important
for keeping track of what they’re
learning in school.

• 95% of students agree that assessments are
“very” or “somewhat” important for helping
them and their teachers know if they are making
progress in their learning during the year.

• 88% agree that assessments are important for
setting goals for their learning.

• 94% agree that tests are important for getting
into a good college.

Two: Students firmly grasp how
assessment serves their learning.
Students realize they take assessments to support their
learning in a variety of substantive ways, including:

• evaluating performance with a grade or score
• tracking progress toward grade-level expectations
• demonstrating what they’ve learned
• clarifying what still needs to be learned
• discovering if they need extra support

Many students have a remarkably accurate
understanding of the purposes and uses of classroom
and state accountability tests. The majority of
students see classroom tests as helpful on a number
of levels, all of which provide feedback on their
learning—including understanding whether they are
performing at grade level expectations (57%), helping
their teachers see what they have learned (55%), and
notably, discovering if they need extra support (47%).

Most students (55%) believe they take state
accountability tests to evaluate their schools;
only 19 percent believe they take classroom tests
for this purpose.

Three: Students want feedback on
performance. And like other stakeholders,
students want timely results!

• 89% said that after one week, assessment results
are not very helpful to them or their teachers.

Student Voices

“Since [state accountability]
tests do not impact us at all, it seems
silly that it takes so much of our time”
— Ninth grader

“[Subject/classroom] tests
tell me if I need to work on this
and I need to work on that”
— Fifth grader

What do these findings tell us? Students aren’t
averse to assessment as long as it serves their
learning. They recognize the practical role
assessment data can play in helping them
demonstrate, track, and understand their learning.
Finally, students want assessment to be useful to
them and their teachers. This clear-sighted view of
assessment comes from those closest to it.

Partnering to Help All Kids Learn® | | 503.624.1951 | 121 NW Everett St., Portland, OR 97209

3 Ways Educators Can Engage
Students in the Assessment Process
Transform student thoughts about assessment into strategies that
boost engagement.

One: Give students a voice in their
assessment plan.

• 79% of students believe assessments help them
do what they want to do in life.

Students understand that educators need different
kinds of information about their academic
performance. Like the teachers and educational
leaders surveyed, students see the need for multiple
measures. When students share ownership of
their learning—which includes their assessment—
learning becomes more personal. You can support
student-centric learning by:

• providing students with assessment options
• bringing students into the planning conversations

around classroom-based assessment
• exploring peer- and self-evaluation
• training students to apply scoring rubrics to

their work and the work of peers

The more involved and engaged students are in their
assessment plan, the more they will understand how
to leverage the results so that they can do what they
want to do in life.

Two: Keep students informed of coming
changes in standards and assessments.

• 29% of students say they have heard of the
Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

• 20% of students have heard about new state
accountability tests.

• 37% of students report never seeing
accountability assessment results.

Students know that things like standards and
accountability assessments carry weight and
influence their lives, though perhaps in ways
less tangible than classroom-based assessments.
They understand that schools are evaluated using
summative assessment data. Students want to be
informed of what to expect, what changes occur, and
what it means to them.

Three: Boost engagement by helping
students use their assessment data to set
challenging, yet achievable, learning goals.

• 94% of students agree that tests are important
for understanding what they are learning.

• 88% of students agree that tests are important
for setting goals for their learning.

While students clearly prefer interaction with their
teachers and peers, teachers report that they are
only able to provide an average of three minutes of
feedback per student on assessments.

What do these findings tell us? Students see how
assessment results can connect to setting learning
goals and getting more personalized classroom
instruction. Increasing students’ assessment
literacy and talking to them about changes that
affect them will engage them as collaborators in
their assessment. If you want your students to take
a more active role in their learning, keep them
informed and involved.

Partnering to Help All Kids Learn® | | 503.624.1951 | 121 NW Everett St., Portland, OR 97209

3 Key Findings on How Educators
View Assessment
Discover what the assessment landscape looks like for educators.

One: Teachers really do rely on
assessment results to inform teaching.
96% of teachers say they use assessment
results to improve teaching and learning
where it counts—in their classrooms.
They use the results to:

• adjust instructional strategies (74%)
• plan and differentiate instruction for high-,

average-, and low-performing students (67%)
• set challenging yet achievable learning goals for

their students (58%)

Two: Collaboration builds confidence.
Educators who discuss assessment results with their
colleagues are more confident in their ability to
interpret and use these results to support teaching
and learning. The majority of educators collaborate
at least once a month.

• 80% of teachers and 91% of district
administrators report peer interactions are part
of using assessment results to inform instruction.

• Interestingly, teachers in elementary schools
(84%) and middle schools (80%) are significantly
more likely than teachers in high schools

(69%) to report that they collaborate on using
assessment results to inform instruction.

• 81% of teachers who participate in professional
learning communities (PLCs) say their PLC
discussions include assessment results.

Three: Major gaps persist in assessment

• Most teachers and district administrators
think they understand the different types of
assessments, but findings suggest that certain
areas are less understood than others.

• 77% of district administrators report training or
professional development on the interpretation
and use of assessment results compared to only
60% of teachers.

What do these findings tell us? Collaboration using
assessment data to inform instruction is an iterative,
ongoing process that builds teacher competency
and confidence. By using test data purposefully,
educators can increase the value of assessments
for students. Professional learning communities
can play a valuable role in increasing all educators’
understanding of assessments.

Partnering to Help All Kids Learn® | | 503.624.1951 | 121 NW Everett St., Portland, OR 97209

Top 3 Ways MAP Makes Assessment
Support the desire for test results that help identify each
student’s unique learning strengths and challenges.

One: MAP creates a unique assessment
experience by adapting to each student’s
learning level.
Due to its deep item bank and adaptive test
design, research-based MAP quickly reveals the
precise achievement of students on, above, or
below grade level.

Each untimed MAP test begins the same way, with a
question appropriate for the individual student. If a
student answers correctly, the test algorithm selects
a more difficult item; if a student answers incorrectly,
the follow-up item is easier. This computer adaptive
item delivery repeats throughout the test.

By adjusting the difficulty of items up or down, MAP
precisely measures every student’s achievement
as well as growth over time. And by meeting each
student where he or she is, MAP reduces the chance
for student boredom or anxiety.

MAP is personal because it adapts to each student’s
ability level, not their predetermined grade level.

Two: MAP provides accurate information
that helps educators transform student
MAP assessments use our RIT (Rasch Unit) scale
to create a grade-independent RIT score, which
indicates the level of question difficulty a given

student is capable of answering correctly about 50%
of the time. Because each test item has a single RIT
value associated with it, RIT scores carry the same
meaning in terms of student ability no matter which
test or set of standards was used to obtain them.

A student’s RIT score helps you understand what he
or she knows, is ready to learn, and is projected to

Our mature, stable, and reliable RIT scale ensures
that the RIT scores you see are both accurate and fair.

We developed our RIT scale more than 30 years ago.
Today, we continue to obtain the RIT value of each
test item using a rigorous calibration process that
ensures our assessments’ integrity. Before we include
an item in MAP tests, we field test it with thousands
of students across the nation and calibrate it to a
measurement scale to ensure accuracy.

Thanks to our scale you can compare your students’
academic performance relative to:

• national achievement and growth norms
• state standards, including College and Career

Readiness (CCR) standards

MAP is personal because every student’s score is
highly accurate, enabling educators to guide each
student on his or her unique learning path.

“Before using MAP, we were missing the full picture of how to
teach kids who were gifted and talented, or struggling to learn, or were
English language learners….But now that we know what our students
are ready to learn before we even begin teaching them, growth is
inevitable—even for our gifted and talented and Title I students.

— Linda Foote, Instructional Technology Specialist, Poway Unified School District, California

Three: MAP supplies real-time data
educators can use to accelerate student
Despite a short testing time, MAP comes with
substantial rewards: you’ll have essential information
about what each student knows and is ready to learn
on rigorous new state standards within 24 hours. You
can use your data to help differentiate instruction and
make a district-wide impact—and students can use it to
better connect with their learning goals.

Quick, accurate results from MAP help you create
highly targeted, 1:1 instruction

• Plan individual, small group, or whole classroom

• Measure student growth and achievement

• Diagnose student strengths and opportunities
• Increase student and parent engagement

Reliable MAP data empower you to support effective

• Predict state summative assessment performance
• Predict college readiness as measured against ACT®

benchmarks for students grade 8+
• Analyze school or district performance
• Provide teachers and Professional Learning

Communities (PLCs) with clear, specific instructional
next steps

• Gain insights for school improvement planning

MAP is personal because it delivers data when
educators need it the most: when there’s still time to
make a difference in every student’s learning.

Partnering to Help All Kids Learn® | | 503.624.1951 | 121 NW Everett St., Portland, OR 97209

©2014 Northwest Evaluation Association. All rights reserved. MAP, Measures of Academic Progress, and Partnering to Help all Kids Learn are registered trademarks and
Northwest Evaluation Association and NWEA are trademarks of Northwest Evaluation Association in the U.S. and other countries. The names of other companies and
their products mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.

November 2014

Computer adaptive K – 12 MAP interim assessments help you answer a crucial
question: Are my students learning?

We look forward to discussing how MAP data can help you maximize every student’s learning.

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) has nearly 40 years of experience helping educators accelerate student
learning through computer-based assessment suites, professional development offerings, and research services.
Visit to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

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