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MAP Growth Assessments

In 2018, the Georgia Board of Education approved a new innovative assessment system to allow districts to use an alternative to the Georgia Milestones. Barrow has been a leader in piloting the Georgia MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Assessment. We'd like to explain more about the testing and how it may impact your child(ren) in the coming years.

Goal

The goal is to eventually adopt what's called a "Through-Year assessment" to replace MAP Growth and Georgia Milestones. It will be essential students participate in both assessments to ensure test validity.

Ultimately, we aim to streamline testing throughout the year and provide insights on students’ instructional needs while also providing summative proficiency data at the end of the year. We will continue to keep parents and families informed of the assessment pilot as we progress.

Let's compare the two tests ...

Georgia Milestones

Like when you were in school, the Georgia Milestones could be compared to a final exam. Both Milestones and a final exam are taken at the end of the class. They cover all the content from that course onto one test. If you misunderstood a key concept early in the class, it could impact how you understood the remaining content.

MAP Growth Assessment

Let’s compare MAP Growth assessments to a unit test. When you take unit tests, teachers can make sure you're learning throughout the semester. If students performed poorly on a test, teachers can review the information. MAP Growth tests are similar – they're checkpoints through the class rather than waiting until the end to determine if a student is on track.

What's The Best way to determine mastery?

Based on positive experiences with MAP Growth assessment, the Barrow County School System felt there was a better way to determine students’ standard mastery. BCSS has been using MAP Growth assessments since 2017-2018, which affirmed the need for an improved approach.

BCSS joined twenty other school districts, in partnership with the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), committed to creating a student-centered assessment system that reduces testing time, provides educators with instructional guidance, and challenges students to develop the thinking skills they need to succeed.

For the 2022-23 school year, students will take the MAP Growth Assessment at three points throughout the school year. Students will also participate in Milestones Testing this year.

MAP Growth Assessment

MAP Growth (which stands for Measures of Academic Progress) is a test given 3 times per school year from Kindergarten through 8th grade. These formative assessments provide information to your child’s teacher regarding your child’s academic growth throughout the year. 

How does it work? The MAP Growth is taken online in the fall, winter, and spring. It is an adaptive assessment, which means that as your child answers questions, the level of complexity for the next question adjusts to your child’s response to the previous question, within or out of their grade level. Each test is informed by your student’s score on the previous test.

MAP Growth assessments help teachers understand what students know today, so goals can be set to improve growth throughout the year (rather than just at the end of a school year). MAP Growth scores are used to personalize learning, inform instruction, and monitor progress.

To learn even more about the Georgia MAP Assessment Partnership, please visit the nwea.org website

Georgia Milestones

As you know, Georgia Milestones attempt to measure student mastery of the standards in tested subject areas. 

  • End of Grade (EOG) assessments test English and math in grades 3 through 8, science in grades 5 and 8, and social studies in grade 8. 
  • End of Course (EOC) assessments cover content at the high school level in four core classes required for graduation: American Literature, Algebra 1, Biology, and U.S. History.

What you may not know is that the Milestones have some significant limitations as an assessment tool

  • Milestones are taken one time at the end of the school year as a summative assessment. A student’s results are based on that single test performance, so if it’s a bad day, the results will not represent a student’s true mastery. 
  • While the tests are given in the spring, official results are not provided to schools until July. By then, the student has moved onto the next grade with a new teacher. 
  • If results are poor for a class, it is harder for teachers to identify exactly what instruction needs to be improved, and it is too late to help the class that didn’t earn proficiency. There’s no chance to reteach because the students have moved onto the next grade. She can only work to improve for future classes. (It would be up to the new teacher to reteach content.)
  • The results provided are not specific. Each student will see how he or she performed in broad domains, but it does not list the specific standards. This means that teachers have little information about what exactly a student needs remediation on. This is especially challenging for a teacher who didn’t teach the content originally to the student (remember, it was last year’s teacher).  
  • Teachers are not allowed to see the exact items on the Georgia Milestone tests, so while they teach the standards, they do not have insights to ensure students are taught exactly what is being assessed. 

Updated March 9, 2022

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