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MAP Information for Parents

*10 Tips for Parents

What is the MAP Test?

MAP stands for Missouri Assessment Program." It is a series of assessments for English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science at grades 3-8; and English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies in high school.  These assessments are designed to see if students in Missouri are meeting the Show-Me Standards.

The Grade-Level assessments are made up of multiple-choice, machine-scored items, as well as "constructed response" items.  These items require students to supply (rather than select) an appropriate response.

Grade Level:

  • Grade 3:  English Language Arts, Mathematics
  • Grade 4:  English Language Arts, Mathematics
  • Grade 5:  English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science
  • Grade 6:  English Language Arts, Mathematics
  • Grade 7:  English Language Arts, Mathematics
  • Grade 8:  English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science

High School:

  • English I, English II
  • Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry
  • U.S. History, U.S. Government
  • Biology

What is the Outstanding Schools Act?

The MAP assessments are required under Senate Bill 380, often referred to as the "Outstanding Schools Act," the state school-reform law enacted in legislature in 1993.  This bill required the State Board of Education to adopt no more than 75 academic performance standards, which established the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for students to "successfully advance through the public elementary and secondary education system of this state; lead to or qualify a student for high school graduation; and prepare students for postsecondary education or the workplace or both."  These "Show-Me Standards" are guides to what students should be able to know and to do.  There are 40 knowledge standards and 33 performance standards.

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 four achievement levels:  Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.  Missouri's goal is to help students achieve in the top two categories.

How do I read the Grade-level Student Report?

The Individual Student Report provides information about performance on the MAP, describing results in terms of four levels of achievement in a content area.  It may be used for instructional planning, as a point of reference during a parent/teacher conference, and for permanent record keeping.  Other sources of information, such as classroom performance, should be used along with this report when determining the student's areas of strength or need.

How are Missouri students performing on the MAP?

Students are showing consistent improvement.  (See 2011 results.)  The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 requires all schools, districts and states to show that all students are making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) that will result in all students and student subgroups scoring at or above the proficient level on the state's assessment by 2014.

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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, children can begin to "get into the head" of the author.  Reading improves a child's writing, and writing improves a child's reading.

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

MAP English Language Arts test contains short stories, poems, dialogues, magazine articles, charts and tables.  Children 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 increase gradually the amount of time she reads at one sitting.  Include short breaks, such as stretching or closing her eyes for a minute.  Set individual reading goals based upon doing the "best that she 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 assessments have two parts or require children to explain or show how they arrived at their answers.  Children will receive only partial credit for answers to questions that are not supported with specific details or that do not contain an explanation.

Tip #7: Teach your child to preview the test before starting.

Planning the test time will allow your child to pace himself while he is working and decrease stress.

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, which are often combined into a single sentence with a single question mark at the end.  The child should underline each question word (who, what, when, where, why, how and any other word or phrase that indicates a question).  By doing so, she can see if a question has multiple parts.  Not answering all parts of a multi-part question is a common error.

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

Teach your child to turn questions into statements. The child may underline the question words as described above, and then turn each part of the item into a statement.  For example, the question, "Why did the main character play with the ball?" could be rephrased as "The main character played with 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 can a parent or guardian do to ensure successful assessment for their student?

  • Be aware of the testing schedule.
  • 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).
  • 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 clothing to be cooler.
  • If your school allows it, make sure your child has a book to read when the testing session is complete.
  • Be certain that your child has two or more number two pencils (not mechanical).
  • Have a positive attitude.

Adapted from the Practical Parenting Partnerships by Laura Schwab and the 2001 MAP Class 6 Team.

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