MAP Testing

John Naranjo

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Technology plays a major role in the lives of almost everyone. In this day and age it’s no surprise that this applies in school as well. For the most part it has made learning and staying connected easier. Some prime examples are sites such as Haiku, Blackboard and the Google Apps for Education.

However the implementation of technology in the form of taking tests hasn’t received a positive reaction. Disregarding personal opinions and complaints from students there is solid proof that shows that testing on computers isn’t exactly the best choice.

A study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development among 15-year-olds across 31 nations and regions found that students who used computers more at school had lower reading and math scores.

Freshmen and sophomores recently took a new online test known as the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in their mathematics and literature classes. This is the first year North will be doing the test and it’s a new way to track students’ skills. It’ll be taken again later in the year to see how students’ skills have progressed. At face value this seems like a great benefit. However there are many freshmen and sophomores who took the test and would disagree.

“I think what we should focus more on is what we need [to know] in the future because education is the foundation for what we need later on. [MAP testing] is mostly just review to find out where we are. It’s nothing helpful in particular,” said sophomore Siraaj Kudtarkar.

On the other hand there are some who support this testing with its new approaches to testing and evaluation of a student’s skills.

“[MAP testing] helped us review and challenged me on things I didn’t understand. I felt like I did really well and it helped me a lot,” said sophomore Destiney Torres.

A big problem surrounding this is the fact that time will be taken out of classroom instruction to take this assessment. If this is the case, students and teachers should ask themselves if this new test will be worth it.

Still, the possible benefits of this test can’t be overlooked. MAP testing can provide teachers insight on what their students need to improve on personally. This can play a key part in a student’s path to success.

“The overall purpose is to help us understand what skills students have and what skills they need to acquire in order to be more effective in the classroom,” said math teacher Christine O’Rourke.

With the information teachers will be receiving they will be able to adjust to the individual needs of their students and help them with their goals.

“If we get timely feedback and data we can use that to identify weak areas and then plan our instruction to target those areas. I think [this test] can be a great benefit,” said literature teacher John Rice.

A defining aspect of the MAP test is that it adapts to the answers students choose. Whether or not the student answers a question correctly will influence the next question given on the test. This method seems to make many people wonder if the test will be effective because students aren’t given a definite set of questions that reflect the standards a student should meet.

This assessment is still new and teachers haven’t received any feedback so it cannot be determined whether it’s effective or not. However considering the amount of instruction time that would be lost and the fact that it is an adaptive test, there is a possibility that the benefits of this test will not outweigh the costs. As innovative as our world is nowadays it seems to be that this generation of students has become accustomed to taking tests on paper and receiving it back with a grade scribbled in red ink only days later.

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MAP Testing