Dear Parent:

Carthage R-9 School District knows that you value your child’s educational process. We would like to offer the following resource to assist you in understanding the MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) assessment that will be administered to your child. Together we can help students to properly prepare for insured success.

What is the MAP test?

MAP stands for Missouri Assessment Program. It is a series of tests to see if students in Missouri are meeting the Show-Me Standards. In every subject and grade that the MAP is given, the test consists of three different sections, each of which requires about one hour to complete. One portion is a multiple-choice, machine scored test. The results from the section are called "Terra Nova" and scores can be compared to students across the nation. The second part of each test is a "constructed response" assessment. Possible answers are not given, so students must supply and write their responses to each item. The third part of each test is the "performance event" section. This is the opportunity the students have to demonstrate that they can apply their knowledge. For example, on the Communication Arts test students demonstrate their writing skills by writing an essay. On the math test, students solve multiple-step problems similar to tasks that they will encounter in everyday life. Each student’s overall score is based on the combined results of all three sections. The constructed response and performance-event sections are hand-scored by specially trained scorers who use predetermined scoring criteria. Groups of Missouri classroom teachers are trained to assist in the scoring process.

How is the MAP test different from the MMAT test that the students took before?

The MMAT asked multiple choice questions which is good for assessing knowledge, but not so good for assessing skills such as writing. The MAP requires students to demonstrate that knowledge is more in line with real world expectations. Knowledge + Performance = Success

How was the need for a new test determined?

The MAP exams are required under the Outstanding Schools Act, the state school-reform law enacted in legislature in 1993. The state began requiring the exams in 1998 and the subject-area tests have been phased-in gradually, This spring of 2000 was the first time that the social studies assessment was required in all public schools. Science and Communication Arts tests were first required in 1999. Only the mathematics exam has been required since 1998. To find complete subject-area grade-level MAP results for the state go to: www.dese.state.mo.us/divinstr/assess

What is the Outstanding Schools Act?

Senate Bill 380, often referred to as the "Outstanding Schools Act" required the State Board of Education to adopt no more than seventy-five academic performance standards. The "Show-Me" Standards were to establish the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary for students to successfully advance. This advancement would take the student through the public elementary and secondary education system of the state of Missouri and beyond. It would also qualify them for high school graduation, post-secondary education and the workplace. In addition, the legislature requested that the State Board to develop a statewide assessment system with standards, achievement levels and a reporting model. For more information visit the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at: www.dese.state.mo.us/schoollaw/LegFolder/SB380

What are the Show-Me Standards?

The "Show-Me" Standards are guides for what students should know and be able to do. There are 40 knowledge standards and 33 performance standards. To find a complete list of the standards you may visit the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education site: www.dese.state.mo.us/divinstr/assess/general

What are the achievement levels mentioned in Senate Bill 380?

Student performance on the MAP exam is graded on a 5-step scale. The levels are Step 1 (lowest), Progressing, Nearing Proficient, Proficient and Advanced. To simplify reporting and to show trends more clearly, scores in the top two categories (Advanced and Proficient) and the bottom two categories (Step 1 and Progressing) are combined. The goal for local school district and the state is to have a higher percentage of students scoring at the Advanced and Proficient levels and a lower percentage of students at the Step 2 and Progressing levels (column 2).

How can I tell if my child is being successful?

Your child’s results will be sent to you the fall after the test that was given. The test is scored (or graded) according to five achievement levels. Missouri’s goal is to help students achieve in the top two categories.

How do I read the Student Report?

  • First, look at the number sitting on top of the gray bar. The bar indicates your child’s score level. The number tells you the combined score of the three parts of the test: selected response questions, constructed response questions and performance events. How are Missouri students doing on the test so far?

  • Second, The gray bar always appears in the middle of one of the categories. Visually the graph can be a little misleading. The score on top of the bar tells you how your child rated in that achievement level.

  • At the bottom of each achievement is a set of numbers, for example 700-750. If a child scored a 701, he would have barely made it in the achievement level. If a child scored a 749, he would have almost reached the next higher achievement level.

What about the boxes on the right?

The boxes on the right are the Content/Knowledge Standards. These are the things students should know; while the Process/Performance standards describe what students should be able to do. Those boxes give a detailed breakdown on how close your child is to meeting those particular standards.

How are the students in Missouri performing on the MAP?

Students are showing consistent improvement. The goal is for schools to move at least 3% of their students out of the lower two categories and/or show a 3% increase in the top two achievement categories. For more information visit the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website at: www.dese.state.mo.us/news/2000/2000map

How can I help my child to perform well on the MAP Assessment?

Tip #1: READ,READ,READ!

Reading takes skill and practice. One of the best and simplest steps to improve the reading ability for children is to provide sustained periods of time for children to read.

Tip #2: Help your child to read like a writer.

Even in the early grades, students can begin to "get into the head" of the author. Reading and writing improves both the reading and writing ability of children.

Tip #3: Read a variety of books and magazines.

MAP Communication Arts test contains short stories, poems, dialogues, magazine articles, charts and tables. Students need to be able to read a wide variety of texts ranging from road signs to restaurant menus, comic books to classics, and from tennis shoe ads to computer manuals.

Tip #4: Build your child’s reading stamina.

To build reading stamina you may wish to encourage your child to gradually increase the amount of time he or she reads at one sitting. Include short breaks such as stretching or closing their eyes for a minute. Set individual reading goals based upon doing the "best that you can."

Tip #5: Teach your child that visuals are part of the text.

Students are often required to gather information from photos, captions, drawings, charts and graphs. You can help by teaching your child to look at all of these materials as part of the total text.

Tip #6: Help your child know how to use text-based support in written responses.

Most of the constructed-response items on the MAP Communication Arts test contain two parts. First, the student is asked a content question such as "What is the main idea of this passage?" Or "Why is this an appropriate title for the story?" Second, the student is told to support his or her answers with details and examples from the story. Students will receive only partial credit for answers to questions that are not supported with specific details from the passage. Your child may increase his/her score simply by teaching your child to use specific details from the story.

Tip #7 Teach your child to read the test questions first.

Classroom research has shown that many students do better if they read the questions first and then return to read the passage. Reading the questions first gives students a purpose and direction for their reading. Reading in a testing situation is clearly different than reading for pleasure.

Tip #8 Teach your child to identify all parts of a question.

Teach your child to identify exactly what each question is asking. Some questions have multiple parts, and these parts are often combined into a single sentence with a single question mark at the end. Students should underline each question word (who, what, when, where, why, how, and any other word or phrase that indicates a question). By doing so, they can see if a question has multiple parts. Not answering all parts of a multi-part question is a common error of students.

Tip #9 Teach your child to paraphrase test items, turning questions into statements.

Teach students to turn questions into statements. The child may underline the question words as described above, then turn each part of the item into a statement. For example, the question "Why did the main character steal the ball?" could be rephrased as "The main character stole the ball because…." This practice allows the child to phrase the question in a way that makes the most sense to him. He is then ready to read the passage and look for answers.

Tip # 10 What a parent can do to ensure successful assessment for their student.

  • Be certain that your child has had adequate rest (this may mean getting them used to an earlier bed time before the week of testing)
  • Provide a high-protein diet
  • Be on time for school.
  • Avoid scheduling appointments that can be done at a later date.
  • Dress your child in layered clothing. This way the child may add clothing to get warmer or remove some of their clothing to be cooler.
  • Be certain that your child has a book that they may read when they have completed their testing session.
  • Be certain that your child has two or more number two pencils (not mechanical).
  • Reassure your child by exhibiting a "You can do it. I believe in you!" attitude!
Adapted from the Practical Parenting Partnerships by Laura Schwab and the MAP Class 6 Team 2001

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