Get Your Students Ready for the NWEA MAP Test

Hi Friends! 
 I recently wrote a post about my positive feelings toward the NWEA MAP test. I am excited to be sharing a short series of blog posts about my experiences with the test.  You can read my original post here
And just to be, my posts are not sponsored by NWEA.
 Sorry, that question made me chuckle!
I've simply been using MAP for a few years in my kindergarten classroom and feel that it's been an amazing resource to guide instruction and grow my students. 

Today, I am going to be sharing some tips to help you administer the MAP test successfully! 

It's important that both you and your students go into the MAP test with a growth mindset. We access a growth mindset by discussing how the test is going to exercise our brains and why it's important that the questions challenge them! 

If you're not sure what a growth mindset is, or need ideas on how to discuss it with young children, check out Class Dojo's growth mindset videos! I also think it's important to allow my students to see the excitement and passion I have for growing their brains. If they see that I'm excited, they become excited too!  If you're not excited about it, then fake it, because your students are not going to do their best  for you on a test that you don't care about. 
Talk to your students about the test. Tell them that it's a way for you to see what they already know and what they still need to know. I always give examples like, "Some of you already know all of your letters, and if you know all of your letters then I don't want to waste time and teach them to you again. I want to find out what kinds of things your brain still needs to learn"!!! I teach five and six year olds, and they understand this concept. They understand that doing their best helps the both of us!
Be sure to use the tools that are available on the NWEA website. Since I teach Kindergarteners, this is the first experience they have with the test. It is important that they learn as much about it as possible. We start talking about the test the week before we administer. It's important to spend time talking about the test so that students understand the format and purpose. 

They must learn how to turn up the volume, how to get to the next question, and how to select the correct answer. Don't assume that they know how to do these things. It's important to model these test-taking skills and practice!
I use the following video with my kids before every test administration. It's an excellent refresher for the students! Click the image below to check it out!

Another resource I use from the NWEA website is the sample tests. I like these because my students can see the different types of questions that will be on the test, and what they have to manipulate in order to answer the question. I pull these up on the smartboard and we go through them together.  You can access the sample tests by clicking on the images below! 

If you have a classroom of little ones, recruit an older class to help your kids with the login process. We have a fourth grade class that comes down for the Fall, Winter and Spring test sessions! The fourth grade students love it! In fact, it's kind of a reward for them to be able to come down and help the kindergarten friends. I write the test session name and password on my white board so that they can easily see it. My kids have their name tags at their seats, which makes it easy for the fourth graders to find their name. The older students also check the volume and brightness on the Chromebooks and adjust it accordingly for my kinders. The process takes no more than 10 minutes and then the fourth graders are back to their class. 
Speaking of Chromebooks....we use them when we are administering the test. If your students have never used them, make sure that you set aside some time before the test to get students on whatever type of device they will be using. 

I also like to have mice available for my students incase they have trouble with dragging and dropping! 
Proctor from a laptop. 
The first time I administered MAP I set up the test session on my desktop computer.
BIGGEST mistake ever. 
Every time a student accidentally "logged off", I had to run over to the desktop to suspend their test, run back to sign them in, run back to my desktop to get the point. 
What was I thinking?! 
If you set it up on a laptop, you can walk around with the laptop and take care of problems more efficiently. 
Provide scrap paper for students who need it to work through problems. I have it available to anyone who needs it. They know where to find it and are welcome to grab some if they need to! 

Don't be afraid to take a break. 
It can be tough for young kids to sit for the duration of the test. If you feel like your kids need a break, you can make that decision by simply pausing the test. I've paused the test to let my students take a brain break with Go Noodle. We've also paused the test to just go on a walk. You know your kids best. 
If they need a break, take one! 

Teach students what to do if they need anything during the test. I teach mine to raise their hands...for everything! 
If they can't hear their test, they raise their hand.
If they clicked out of the test, they raise their hand.
If they are having trouble dragging an answer, they raise their hand. 
This requires a lot of running around (especially during the Fall test) so it may be smart to try to recruit another adult to be in the room with you. Perhaps an aide, guidance counselor, or an administrator. I know it can be tough to find someone that's available but I usually just beg until someone agrees. 
Be sure to have a plan for students as they finish the test. You can easily have some work prepared for them or they can read a book. I usually put my students on a fun website once they complete the test so that there aren't any disruptions. 

I hope you found these tips useful and hope that you and your students will find success in taking the MAP test! 

My next post will focus on how I use the reports to group my students and drive instruction! 
Have the BEST week! 


  1. All your suggestions are excellent. My first graders did a great job this year so far. Most of them met their RIT growth goal for the fall to winter term!

    1. Thanks so much Catherine! So happy most of your kids met their goals!! :)

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  2. So useful! Also, your blog is super cute :)
    When I was working as a reading teacher, I ended up creating flexible NWEA activities for my students. They are leveled according to RIT band, hitting on important DesCartes skills and vocab for that level, but the sheets are also focused on higher order thinking skills. I always said it was test prep without the guilt. I also made sure that the activities were generic or flexible, so I could use them over and over for any reading assignment.

    I started uploading some of them to various locations online, and here is what I have so far:

    Thought I would share!

  3. Hello from Bogota Colombia. Thanks for your excellent ideas. We are just starting with MAP this year and I am definitely going to use your advice. Awesome!