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How to Pass the 6th Grade Map Growth Test

How to Pass the 6th Grade Map Growth Test

Updated February 8, 2022

By Nikki Dale
Nikki Dale

What Is the 6th Grade Map Test?

The MAP Growth Test is a series of assessments that are designed to precisely measure the growth and proficiency of children based on their performance compared to their peers.

The 6th Grade MAP Growth Test is usually administered three times in the school year in the fall, the winter, and the spring, and it covers subjects that have been taught through school.

As a Measurement of Academic Progress, the assessments are available from kindergarten up to the 12th Grade.

The 6th Grade MAP Growth Test measures growth over time by looking at what students know and recognizing what they don’t know so that teachers have data points to use in structuring further learning.

Rather than some test that has been created to assess students for gifted programs, the 6th Grade MAP reflects progress and aligns a student against their peers.

Whether they are higher, lower, or about average in competency, the evidence from these tests can be used by teachers to guide and educate children, challenging them where needed.

The subject areas in the test are those that have been taught up to that grade, so nothing in the assessment should be completely unfamiliar.

The 6th Grade MAP Growth Test was created by the NWEA. In 1973, educators from Oregon and Washington formed the Northwestern Evaluation Association (NWEA).

More than 9,500 schools in the US and education agencies in 145 countries rely on the NWEA assessments to measure achievement in students.

They began creating assessment solutions that can precisely measure competency in children, with the first MAP Growth Test published in 2000.

The MAP Growth Test at all grades is based on Common Core principles, a set of learning outcomes for students that are meant to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.

The subjects that are covered by Common Core standards are mathematics and English language arts (literacy). These academic standards have been widely adopted throughout the United States.

The test itself is computer-based, and it is adaptive, which means that the difficulty of the future questions changes depending on whether the student answers the current question correctly.

If they get it right, then the next question will be harder, but if they get it incorrect, the next question will be easier. It is not a timed test.

For students in 6th Grade, the 2–5 MAP Growth Test is usually administered.

For those who have performed consistently higher in previous assessments; however, this is usually the time that they are introduced to the 6+ test.

The content of the 6+ test is broadly the same, but there are some subjects and related questions that are more challenging and may relate to things that have not been taught in much detail, so they need more revision.

What Does the Test Cover?

The 6th Grade MAP Growth Test is based on up to four main academic topics, covering subjects that have already been taught.

In the 6th Grade, the MAP Test includes math, reading, and language usage, and in some cases, science. Not all schools test all grades on science knowledge.

However, it is important to know what would be on the assessment should your child be facing it.

Math

There are several different areas of mathematical knowledge that are tested in the 6th Grade MAP Growth Test that include:

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

This covers patterns in a series of numbers, understanding numerical expressions, and confident use and understanding of all four operators (addition, subtraction, division and multiplication).

Numbers and Operations

This deals with the understanding and application of decimals and fractions and confidently handling operations using multi-digit numbers.

Geometry

From solving problems using 3D shapes to analyzing and understanding graphs, the geometry questions are looking for the ability to make reasoned decisions based on shapes.

Measurement and Data

Taking data and using it to solve problems means understanding relative concepts, and for measurement, students need to be confident about length, area, volume and angles.

Reading

This section is not just about being able to read but also about levels of comprehension. The specific areas of testing include:

Literature

Reading literature pieces and recognizing themes, structure and point of view. Analysis of the passage and extricating meaning.

Informational Texts

These questions are looking for the student to be able to recognize subjectivity and perspective as well as the purpose of the text and the argument that it is making.

Word Meaning and Vocabulary Knowledge

The 6th Grade MAP Growth Test is not just about a wide vocabulary. It is also about recognizing words through context and by their relationship with other words.

Language Usage

Fluency and confidence in English, especially in written work, is the theme of these questions. Specific areas of knowledge that are tested in the 6th Grade MAP Growth Test include:

Writing

The order of a good writing structure, including researching, revising ideas, developing themes and the act of writing itself

Understand and Edit Mechanics

In these questions, the student is being assessed on their understanding of basic rules like capitalization and punctuation, as well as spelling.

Grammar and Usage

Grammar conventions and how they apply to written work is an important part of literacy, which is what is tested in this part of the assessment.

Science

This is the section that is not always administered at every grade or even in every school. It is still worth noting what would be covered, just in case your school does use it:

Life Science

Focuses on organisms and molecules, evolution, and ecosystems.

Physical Science

This section looks at the interaction of matter, including forces and energy.

Earth and Space Science

For this part of the assessment, the focus is on the Earth and our relative position in space, including the water system and the impact of human life.

How Is the Test Scored?

As with other grades, the 6th Grade MAP Growth Test is scored using the Rasch Unit (RIT) scale, which is designed to indicate the student’s position on a continuous scale of learning.

The RIT plots a student on this scale, with the numeric value predicting that the student will get 50% of the questions right at that difficulty level.

The continuous scale starts with the academic ability of Pre-K students all the way through to the 12th Grade, which means that each testing point will plot a child and their progress in a way that makes it easy to compare to their performance in previous years.

Teachers and educators can use the RIT scores of a cohort to identify norms and compare students to others at the same level, identifying students who are performing less well, those who are average and those who are achieving higher than others.

With the RIT score as a point on a scale, there is no specific number that should be achieved; however, some gifted and talented programs might have a score requirement that must be met.

How To Pass the 6th Grade Map Growth Test
How To Pass the 6th Grade Map Growth Test

The continuous scale might mean that there is some overlap between MAP tests taken in the same year and also those that are taken in previous and subsequent years.

For the 6th Grade MAP Growth Test, the RIT scale range for each area are as follows:

Math

  • Lower – 188–207
  • Average – 215
  • Higher – 223–241

Language Usage

  • Lower – 186–202
  • Average – 209
  • Higher – 217–233

Reading

  • Lower – 183–202
  • Average – 210
  • Higher – 218–237

As the MAP is computer-based, the results are available for teachers immediately after completion.

How to Pass the 6th Grade MAP Test?

Read

Reading widely and encouraging reading of different styles of texts will give your child access to new vocabulary, styles, and subjects.

Both fiction and non-fiction, look for challenging reads that will help your child to make the most of their current knowledge and discover new things.

Active reading in all areas makes sure that your child is looking for things like meaning, structure and argument, as well as helping them to identify stylistic cues.

Make a Vocabulary Book

Whilst encouraging reading, find a notebook that can be used to note down unfamiliar words. This can be added to throughout the year.

To make the most of this resource, make sure that the word is spelled correctly and is completed with the definition so that it can easily be revised.

You can then use word association games, find antonyms and synonyms and use these new words in everyday talking and writing to help.

Practice Math at Home and as Part of Daily Life

Familiarity with completing math questions will help make them seem less scary, so help your child complete math problems as part of daily life.

This might include simple adding (for example, for a shopping bill) or something a little more complicated (working out the tax on a purchase).

The idea is that the more a child completes these questions, the easier they will find doing it in the test.

Have a Game Plan

Some questions, especially in the math section, will be easier for your child to answer if they know the techniques.

Creating a game plan for answering each type of question, whether that is a multiplication method or how to do calculations using fractions, means that in theory, any question of that kind can be answered.

It is important, however, that your student knows why that technique works so they can confidently apply it to unfamiliar problems.

Revise and Understand the Writing Process

Part of the language usage test is to understand how writing should work and the full process that should be used to create a successful piece of written work.

As this routine applies to both fiction and non-fiction writing, ensure that any written work your child produces follows the process:

  • Pre-drafting
  • Drafting
  • Revising
  • Publishing

Practice Recognizing the Structure of Text

Identifying the way a piece of text is written will help your child to feel confident answering questions about the structure.

When reading with your child or looking at the way a piece of information is put together, check that they can recognize paragraphs, subsections, titles and subheadings quickly and accurately.

Practice Tests

Taking practice tests helps to get your child in the right mindset for answering questions under pressure, and there are a number of tests available online that can be used to do this.

It is important that these are taken under exam conditions, so make sure that your student takes them somewhere quiet where they won’t be disturbed, and let them get on with it without offering help.

You might want to introduce a timer to the practice. Although the real test isn’t timed, having some time pressure will help your child to focus on the task at hand rather than being distracted.

Prioritise Healthy Habits

Students perform better when they are well-rested, well-fed and well hydrated.

You can help your child achieve more by emphasizing the importance of making healthy choices like getting an early night, eating vegetables and drinking plenty of water.

Exercise is also important to good performance, so encourage participation in sports, dancing or even just going for a walk during the revision process.

Make Learning Fun

There are several ways that you can incorporate revision and learning into games, you can play board games like Scrabble, word-play association games that encourage the use of synonyms and antonyms, and reward reading and learning.

Even games like Monopoly, where math is needed to calculate funds needed to buy houses and hotels, is a (sometimes) fun way to encourage revision.

Frequently Asked Questions

To get in the top 50% of scores, a student needs to score 215 on the mathematics section, 209 on the language usage and 210 on the reading.

If you want to aim for the top 5% of scores on the MAP test, you need to achieve 241 on mathematics, 233 on language usage and 237 on reading.

MAP testing is used in the 6th grade and runs up to 12th grade.

As the grades increase, the material and questions get harder. A 6th grader will be questioned on the material they have learned in school.

The purpose of the MAP test is to examine a student’s academic progress and what they need to improve upon.

At 6th grade, you should be comfortable with number functions and basic algebraic equations. You should also be able to interpret mathematic data to calculate probability and percentiles. The use of integers is also cited as what a 6th grader should know.

Final Thoughts

The 6th Grade MAP Test is an important benchmark in your child’s development as they are looking towards their next stage of education.

Teachers use it to ensure that your student is reaching the expected standards and to plan where extra help and tuition might be needed in accordance with the Common Core standards, so it’s not considered a ‘pass/fail’ test.

Your child’s RIT scale score will help you understand where your child is in terms of knowledge and skills in comparison to previous assessments and in comparison to their cohort.

This is a scale that begins at Pre-K and goes all the way through to the 12th Grade, with some blurring of the lines between grades being completely normal and to be expected.

For parents with children facing the MAP Growth Test, the best thing that you can do is support them in making learning a normal and natural part of everyday life.

Because the exam questions are based on subjects and principles they've previously been taught, the support you give should be focused on helping them remember and revise.

Encouragement and support are the best ways you can help your child as they approach their test.