Students express frustration with MAP testing


Photo by Megan Demske

WCHS freshman Megan Demske works at her computer over the weekend. The MAP tests add one more thing students have to worry about.

By Michael Demske, Assistant News Editor

Run by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) is a standardized test typically administered in three sections (fall, winter and spring) every year. This month, all WCHS freshmen are slated to take both the math and reading editions of the MAP test.

Some students are growing increasingly frustrated with the MAP test because they feel that it doesn’t impact their learning and adds unnecessary pressure to an already stressful school environment. 

“I’m not the biggest fan of MAP testing,” Marc Sussman, a freshman at WCHS, said. “It is pretty boring and time consuming for something that doesn’t affect your actual grades.”

According to the MCPS website, the MAP tests have been administered K-12 in the county since 2004, a couple years before Sussman and other freshmen began elementary school.

“My view on MAP hasn’t really changed over the course of my educational career,” Sussman said. “Each year I find it equally as boring and just want to quickly finish it.” 

According to the NWEA website, the data gathered from these tests are used to monitor student growth over time and assist educators in planning material that caters to the student’s learning level.

“I’m pretty sure that the data MAP testing gathers shows the county how much you learned about previously taught subjects,” Sussman said. “They look to see if you were able to handle the given tasks.”

Recently, some colleges have made submitting standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT), optional. This arose the issue of the need to include standardized tests like MAP, in schools. 

“I would shorten the amount of reading and questions in the MAP so students actually feel like trying,” Sussman said. “I think that students would put more effort into MAP if it was a shorter test.”

With other things to worry about, some students have lost or are losing motivation to give the MAP test 100 percent of their effort. The fact that the test score has no long term effect on students doesn’t help either.

“I don’t feel that motivated to do well on MAP because it’s not a college based test or a test as important as SAT’s,” Max Brodsky, a freshman at WCHS, said. 

MAP testing isn’t all bad, since it provides valuable information to not only the educators, but the students too. Seeing the progression of their MAP scores over the years allows students to pinpoint weak spots in their education and seek extra help.

“I kind of feel that [MAP] has a place in our education system because of how it can help us in different ways,” Brodsky said. “It can guide us down the path we need to help us succeed in school.” 

The data from the MAP tests is also helpful for educators because it allows them to alter lesson plans and material covered in order to best help students learn to the best of their abilities.

“The scores could be used to help us identify specific students who are struggling and could use reading interventions and supports,” Jennifer Miller, the WCHS English Department Resource Teacher, said. “We might also be able to look at specific skill bands and determine…where we need greater reteaching or scaffolding for that skill.”

While all students must take the tests, there are two distinct viewpoints. Some students use the MAP test to assess their knowledge gained over the years and others don’t see the value and can’t wait to get through it.

“My personal advice is easier said than done for sure,” Brodsky said. “I would try your best, try not to slack off, and focus as much as  possible.”