NWEA MAP Frequently Asked Questions

NWEA MAP testing is a wonderful tool that provides our teachers and parents with actionable information on how to best help our students find success in the classroom. We are excited with how the first year has gone and eager to utilize the data we have gathered to inform our classroom instruction. Thank you for partnering with us and we look forward to continuing to meet your families’ educational needs. Below are some frequently asked questions about MAP testing.


Q: What is MAP Testing?

A: MAP Testing is a formative assessment program that helps teachers, families, and administrators identify areas of strengths, opportunities for growth, as well as what material students are ready to learn.

Q: Is it similar to the former SAT test?

A: In some ways, yes. As with the SAT, we can see how students are scoring in comparison to their peers. These data points give schools and parents a helpful guide in understanding the needs of their students.

Q: How is it different from SAT testing? Does it replace the SAT?

A: MAP testing is taking the place of the SAT at Trinity Christian Academy.

Unlike the SAT which is a singular test that all students take, the MAP test adapts to the unique needs of each student. As a student answers a question correctly, the next question is more difficult. Conversely, a wrong answer will result in the next question being slightly easier. The goal is to determine what a student is ready to learn.

Q: How frequently do we test students? Are the tests timed?

A: Students are tested on three separate occasions each year - once in the fall, once in the winter, and once in the spring. The students are given two hours over two days to complete each assessed subject area.

These tests are not timed. While we give students an hour each day for two days, the teacher will work with students that need more time to complete the tests.

Q: What is the purpose of MAP testing?

A: The purpose of MAP testing is to provide parents, teachers, and administrators with a clear picture of what the specific needs of a student are - what are their areas of strength and what are their opportunities for growth or improvement.

Q:How is the data that is collected used?

A: The data is used to inform instruction in the classroom. Based on the test results, what learning needs to be reinforced, what learning needs to be reviewed, or what can be pushed further ahead. Additionally, The data collected is used to provide parents with actionable feedback - specific areas to work on with their child.

Q: What areas of learning are assessed?

A: Within MAP testing, the areas assessed are as follows:

  • K-2 (Fall) - Math and Reading
  • 3-12 (Fall) - Math, Reading, Language Usage
  • K-1 (Winter and Spring) - Math and Reading
  • 2-12 (Winter) - Math, Reading, Language Usage
  • 2-11 (Spring) - Math, Reading, Language Usage

Q: How does scheduling work for these tests? Is everyone on the same schedule?

A: The overall schedule - subject areas assessed - is the same for UD and LD. The first week Math is assessed, Reading is assessed in week two, and Language Usage in week three. Details of how testing happens in those weeks differs by division:

  • Lower Division - it is a grade level decision what days of the week and time of day testing happens. This will be communicated to you by your child’s teacher.
  •  Upper Division - In the subject area assessed (Math or English Language Arts) testing will happen during your child’s class period on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Q: As a parent, do I have access to this information?

A: In the Lower Division, once each test session is complete, a Family Score sheet that shows the most recent test scores, as well as previous test results, is sent home in the Tuesday folder.

In the Upper Division, English and Math teachers review results with each student after the Fall test, and a family report is mailed home after the Winter and Spring sessions.

Q: I have heard of “high stakes testing,” is MAP testing part of that.

A: The short answer is, no. We believe that no singular data point (such as MAP testing or classroom grades) should be used to make broad decisions. However, MAP data, in addition to teacher/student interactions, other classroom grades, and other assessment data points, help paint a more complete and clear picture of what specific student needs are.

Q: What can I do as a parent to help my child be successful on the MAP test?

A: Encourage them. Let them know that we want them to try their best. There will be questions they don’t know the answers to or may be material that they have not covered yet. That is ok. Our desire is to see students challenge themselves and help us identify what needs they have in the classroom.

Q: How can I use the IXL program to help my child in an area they are struggling/excelling?

A: This is a great question! The first step would be to speak with your child’s teacher and find out the areas of strength and opportunities for growth your child has in the assessed area - the teacher can provide specific areas for you to target in IXL. Additionally, teachers can use the scores from the NWEA MAP test to create customized IXL plans for your child.


The purpose of this is to try and answer some of the questions that parents may be asking or thinking about. It is not an exhaustive list, so if there is something that you have a question about and it is not answered below, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your division office.

Additional NWEA MAP questions can be found by visiting NWEA’s FAQ page here or visiting NWEA’s Family Tool Kit here.

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