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MAP TESTING glossary 

Below are a list of terms you may hear and use as talking with teachers and your child(ren) about MAP scores and reports:




Achievement vs. Ability

NWEA's tests measure a student's academic achievement, not his or her ability. Achievement is evidence of what a student has learned and can do. NWEA assessments measure a student's achievement in a subject area. NWEA's mission relates to improving this achievement. Ability describes a student's capacity to learn, independent of what has been achieved. The MAP test does not measure ability.

Average Growth Index

Average growth index is a statistic that appears on some MAP reports. It is the total growth index of the group divided by the total number of students in the group.

District Average

The average RIT score for all students in the school district in the same grade who were tested at the same time as your child. 

Goal Performance Areas

Goal performance areas are goal reporting categories on MAP reports that are aligned to the content of individual state standards.

Grade Independent/ Grade-Level Independent

Because the MAP tests are adaptive and the test items displayed are based on student performance, rather than age or grade, a score is independent of grade-level parameters. For example, a third grader who received a score of 210 and a fourth grader who received a score of 210 are learning at approximately the same instructional level.

Growth Index

The growth index is a statistic that appears on some MAP reports. The growth index indicates the RIT value by which the student exceeded the target RIT (plus values), fell short of the target RIT (minus values), or exactly met the target RIT (0). The target RIT is determined by the RIT Point Growth Norms.

Growth vs. Progress

Growth is defined as the change in a student's score and improvement in achievement over time. MAP assessments measure growth. Progress is defined as growth targeted to an end result.

The Lexile Framework for Reading

A Lexile is a unit for measuring text difficulty created by MetaMetrics. Lexile scores are linked to reading RIT scores. Lexile is reported on an equal-interval scale, similar to the RIT scale. 10L is at the low end of the scale and 1700L is at the high end. Click here to visit the Lexile website.

Lexile Range

The Lexile range is a score (displayed as a 150-point range) that can be used to find text of appropriate difficulty. The Lexile range is included on several MAP reports. It allows educators and parents to find appropriately challenging books, periodicals and other reading for material for students. The Lexile range represents a level of reading difficulty that leaves readers neither frustrated nor bored. This level should stimulate a student to new learning while rewarding their current reading abilities.

Norm Group Average Line

This line, found on an individual student's progress report, represents the average score for students who were in the same grade and tested in the same term as observed in the most recent NWEA norming study.

Percentile Range

Percentiles are used to compare one student's performance to the norm group. Percentile means the student scored as well as, or better than, the percent of students taking the test in his/her grade. There is about a 68 percent chance that the student's percentile ranking would fall within this range if the student tested again relatively soon.

Percentile Rank

This number indicates the percentage of students in the NWEA norm group for this grade that a student's score equaled or exceeded. The percentile is a normative statistic that indicates how well a student performed in comparison to the students in the norm group. A student's percentile rank indicates that the student scored as well as, or better than, the percent of students in the norm group. In other words, a student with a percentile rank of 72 scored as well as or better than 72 percent of the students in the norm group. 


Tests developed by NWEA use a scaled called RIT to measure student achievement and growth. RIT stands for Rasch unIT, which is a measurement scale developed to simplify the interpretation of test scores. The RIT score relates directly to the curriculum scale in each subject area. It is an equal-interval scale, like feet and inches, so scores can be added together to calculate accurate class or school averages. RIT scores range form about 100-300 depending upon the scale and test season. They make it possible to follow a student's educational growth from year-to-year.

RIT Point Growth Norms

RIT Point Growth Norms are tables that allow educators to get a more realistic look at growth across various starting RIT scores at each grade level. These norms establish typical student growth relative to other students in the NWEA norming study who started with the same RIT score in the same grade.

RIT Score Line

The RIT score the student received on each growth test will have its own line on an individual student's progress report. This line may contain a dashed portion following the most recent test to represent projected growth over the next instructional year. Projected growth is the average fall-to-fall or spring-to-spring RIT growth of students who were in the same grade and began the growth comparison period at a similar achievement level as observed in the most recent NWEA norming study.

District Average RIT Line

This line, also found on an individual student's progress report, represents the average score for all students in the school district in the grade who were tested at the same time.

Standard of Error of Measurement (SEM)

The standard error of measurement is an estimate of the precision of the achievement (RIT) score. The smaller the standard error, the more precise the achievement estimate it.

Standards (Content)

Content standards are statements, developed by states or districts, expressing content students should know and be able to do related to specific academic areas.  

Standards (Performance

Performance standards are a minimum proficiency level that students are expected to achieve on a particular assessment. Individual states, school districts and schools establish such standards.

District Calendar

    • ThuNov23 Thanksgiving
    • TueNov28 SEA Linkage 4:45 PMSHS Conference Room #116
    • TueNov28 Shorewood Historical Society/Connects/Library/Senior Center Linkage 6:00 PMSHS Conference Room #116
    • TueNov28 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • MonDec04 Advanced Learning Information Session 6:00 PMSHS Library

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