Parent’s Guide to MAP Growth

  • Children learn better—and faster—when teachers have a clear picture of what each student knows and is ready to learn next. That’s why a group of educators and researchers founded NWEA®, a not-for-profit organization that has created some of the most trusted and reliable assessment solutions available. More than 9 million students in the US and in 140 countries worldwide use MAP® Growth™.

    How it Works

    MAP Growth is a computer-adaptive test. If your child answers a question correctly, the next question is more challenging. If they answer incorrectly, the next one is easier. This type of assessment challenges top performers without overwhelming students whose skills are below grade level.

    MAP Growth
    MAP Growth begins with a question at each student’s grade level and adjusts the level of difficulty based on individual performance.

    What it Measures

    MAP Growth uses a RIT scale to accurately measure what students know, regardless of their grade level. It also measures growth over time, allowing you to track your child’s progress throughout the school year and across multiple years. Once your child completes a MAP Growth test, they receive a RIT score.

    RIT Scale
    The RIT scale precisely measures student performance, regardless of whether they’re performing on, above, or below grade level.

    The Results: Your Child’s RIT Score

    RIT scores have the same meaning across grade levels. If a fourth-grade student and an eighth-grade student have the same RIT score in reading, then they are testing at the same level in that subject. You can use your child’s RIT score to help them meet their goals. For example, students can enter their RIT scores into our college explorer tool to see which colleges and universities they’re on track to enter. You can also check out online resources that use RIT scores to provide students with book recommendations and web-based exercises, such as and

    “MAP Growth is important because it allows my teacher and me to see how much I know and my percentile growth. In math, my score used to be 227 (70th percentile), but it is now 240 (87th percentile). I didn’t know I was capable of so much growth, but in the end I was.”

    Kayla, 6th grade
    Santa Ana, CA


    How do schools and teachers use MAP Growth scores?
    Teachers can use the score to inform instruction, personalize learning, and monitor the growth of individual students. Principals and administrators can use the scores to see the performance and progress of a grade level, school, or the entire district.

    Can MAP Growth tell me if my child is working at grade level?
    Yes, but please note that MAP Growth scores are just one data point that teachers use to determine how a student is performing. Please discuss any questions that you have about your child’s performance with your child’s teacher.

    How often will my child take MAP Growth tests?
    Most schools give MAP Growth tests to students at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year (in the fall, winter, and spring). Some schools choose to administer tests only twice a year.

    What are norms?
    NWEA provides schools with norms every three years. This is anonymous data from more than 10 million students around the country. Knowing the top, middle, and bottom scores of all these students combined allows teachers to compare where your child is to other students and help them grow.

    Is MAP Growth a standardized test?
    Unlike a standardized test, MAP Growth is administered periodically during the school year. Instead of asking all students the same questions, it adjusts to each child’s performance— giving a more accurate measure of what they know. Teachers also receive results right away, which enables them to react more quickly.

    What types of questions are on MAP Growth tests?
    The MAP Growth tests include multiple choice, drag-and-drop, and other types of questions. For sample tests, visit

    For tips on getting ready for MAP Growth testing, check out our blog:
    Find more parent resources at

    NWEA® is a not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by providing assessment solutions, insightful reports, professional learning offerings, and research services. Visit to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

    © NWEA 2017. MAP and NWEA are registered trademarks, and MAP Skills, MAP Growth, and Measuring What Matters are trademarks, of NWEA in the US and in other countries. Illustrations © Adam Simpson and Heart 2017. The names of other companies and their products mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.

    JULY 2017 | KAP1029