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How to Pass the NWEA 8th Grade MAP Test

Updated February 11, 2022

By Alex Abel
Alex Abel

What Is the 8th Grade MAP Test?

The 8th Grade Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) test is the 8th grade level of the overall NWEA K-12 academic assessment.

The assessment was created by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a non-profit research organization.

This measurement of academic achievement has become the most widely used academic assessment, covering over 9,500 schools in more than 145 countries.

The method of assessment has proven to be the most effective way of assessing a student’s individual talents and proficiencies. As such, students who pass it have a significantly higher chance of succeeding in their academic careers.

What Is the Purpose of MAP Tests?

The MAP test allows teachers, parents and administrators to deeply understand children’s academic growth.

With a sound understanding of the student’s academic progress, teachers and parents can effectively tailor the learning experience to best suit the child.

Is the MAP Test Adaptive?

Each test is computerized and specifically tailored to the individual and their current academic level.

The tests are adaptive. This means that, for every question on the test that the student answers correctly, the following question will increase in difficulty. Likewise, for every question that the student answers incorrectly, the following question will decrease in difficulty.

This method ensures that the individual has a fair opportunity to showcase their strengths and weaknesses according to the assessment growth average rather than the current grade average.

When Do You Take the MAP Test?

There are three tests for every grade. The first two tests are taken within the first week of the school semester; these tests will assess the student’s level of reading and mathematics.

The third test is a shorter version of the assessment and is taken in the middle of the academic year.

The MAP tests are not timed. However, it generally takes about an hour for each student to complete.

Are There Different Types of MAP Tests?

There are three types of MAP tests:

  • Screening test – This is given at the beginning of the student’s academic development. It is designed to test the student’s initial set of skills. The test is generally taken during kindergarten or grade 1. Although rare, it is also sometimes taken at grade 2.
  • Skills checklist – This assesses the student’s affinity for particular subjects before and after they learn them.
  • Growth assessment – This assesses the student’s academic ability based on the scores of the previous growth, checklist and screening tests.

In grade 8, students take the MAP Growth assessment. By this time, they will have already taken numerous Growth assessments.

The administrators will measure the 8th grade MAP test results against the results of the student’s previous MAP tests, thereby indicating the child’s overall academic growth.

What Does the 8th grade MAP Test Cover?

The 8th grade MAP test covers three sections in total:

  • Mathematics – 40–43 mathematic questions
  • Language Usage – 50–53 grammar and writing questions
  • Reading – 40–43 questions regarding literature comprehension and informal texts

Some schools are adding a science section to the MAP tests. Although the information on this section is limited, parents should also prepare children for a science component.

All sections of the MAP test align with the American Common Core standards.

Understanding what to expect within sectors of the MAP tests will allow students to identify where they expect their strengths and weaknesses to appear. Let’s take a look in more detail.

8th Grade Mathematics

Number Sense

Students will exercise their ability to explore numbers in various ways, visualizing and identifying them in a variety of contexts.

  • Arithmetic
  • Identifying mathematical concepts
  • Number ordering
  • Number comparison

Algebra

  • Understanding algebraic concepts
  • Examining functions
  • Solving algebraic equations
  • Simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Identifying algebraic patterns

Measurement

  • Identifying units of measurement
  • Applying calculation to units of measurement
  • Geometric calculation
  • Understanding geometric formulas

Statistics and Probability

  • Analyzing data
  • Interpreting graphs
  • Using calculations to determine probabilities

Computational Thinking and Problem-Solving

  • Identifying complex problems
  • Applying decomposition and abstraction methods to complex problems

Example Question

A store has an end of year sale where all items are discounted by 20%. The original price of a shirt is 30.Theoriginalpriceofapairofjeansis30**. The original price of a pair of jeans is **40.

During the end of year sale, how much will both items cost?

a) 50<br>b)50<br> b) 14
c) 62<br>d)62<br> d) 56
e) $54

The correct answer is: d) $56

20% discount on 30=30 = 24
20% discount on 40=40 = 32

32 + 24 = 56

Students can solve this question in one of two ways:

Calculate the discounted price for each item separately, then add the results of both numbers:

(30 × 20) ÷ 100 = 6 | 30 – 6 = 24
(40 × 20) ÷ 100 = 8 | 40 – 8 = 32
24 + 32 = 56

Or

Add both prices together, then calculate the discount from the total sum:

30 + 40 = 70 | (70 × 20) ÷ 100 = 14
70 – 14 = 56

8th Grade Language Usage

Parts of Speech

Students will show their ability to identify the different parts of speech:

  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Prepositions
  • Pronouns
  • Conjunctions
  • Interjections

Grammar and Sentence Structure

Students will show their understanding of English grammar as well as their ability to create correct sentence structures.

Writing Process

Students will be assessed on their ability to research and plan their writing. They will also show their ability to revise and edit their writing after planning.

Writing Mechanics

Students will show their understanding of the technical aspects of writing:

  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Capitalization
  • Abbreviations

Example Question

People wear hats for many reasons, including to express themselves, protection from the sun, wearing a uniform, and as part of their religion. Different cultures have a variety of traditions of hat-wearing, including countless styles for both men and women. Do you like to wear hats?

Choose the best revision of the first sentence

a) People wear hats for many reasons, including to express themselves, to protect themselves from the sun, and practicing their religion.
b) People wear hats for many reasons, including self-expression, protection from the sun, and to practice their religion.
c) People wear hats for many reasons, including expressing themselves, protecting themselves from the sun, and to practice their religion.
d) People wear hats for many reasons, including self-expression, protection from the sun, and religious practice.

The correct answer is: d)

The answer (d) contains a list of the same ideas in a parallel structure—each item is written using the same part of speech.

For example, each item in the correct list is a noun: self-expression, protection, practice.

The parallel structure is maintained even though 'practice' does not end in 'ion' it is still a noun.

How to Pass the NWEA 8th Grade MAP Test
How to Pass the NWEA 8th Grade MAP Test

8th Grade Reading

Reading Comprehension

Students will be assessed on their ability to comprehend the meanings of words and sentences through various literary contexts.

They will show the ability to identify antecedents, inferences, idioms and other literary devices as well as grasp the overall meaning of a piece of writing.

Literary Concepts

Students will demonstrate their ability to identify themes and ideas within literary works. They will also show how they can draw their own conclusions based on the extracts they read.

Information Comprehension

Students show their ability to grasp information from informational texts. After reading, students will infer and analyze the information they have gained.

Example Question

Ever since I was a little child, it has always been important to me to keep my environment as clean and tidy as possible. I clean meticulously every day and always receive compliments on my spotless house.

Based on the context, what is the meaning of the word 'meticulously'?

a) Unwillingly
b) Happily
c) In a hurried manner
d) With attention to detail

The correct answer is: d) With attention to detail.

Considering the context, the word 'meticulous' clearly refers to the subject’s attention to detail while cleaning their house.

How Is the 8th Grade MAP Test Scored?

The NWEA scores MAP tests using a unit of measurement called the Rasch unIT (RIT). This unit of measurement is an equal-interval scale, similar to feet or inches.

Rather than measuring the student’s test scores in relation to the students in the same grade, RIT measures their scores against their previous Growth assessments.

Administrators can then measure the student’s total academic growth.

With the score provided, parents and teachers will have a sound understanding of how the student is progressing academically.

What Is the Expected RIT Score for 8th Grade?

Each sector has RIT scores based on a bell curve depicting the normal distribution. The scores of all students in a particular grade will fall into a percentile according to a standard deviation.

NWEA (Winter 2020) 8th Grade Mathematics RIT Scores

The average RIT score for students across the US is 228.

Students scoring below 209 will be among the lower percentile of students.
Students scoring above 247 will be among the higher percentile of students.

Students scoring 266 or above will be considered gifted and will likely be enrolled into a gifted program.

NWEA (Winter 2020) 8th Grade Reading RIT Scores

The average RIT score for students across the US is 221.

Students scoring below 204 will be among the lower percentile of students.
Students scoring above 238 will be among the higher percentile of students.

Students scoring 255 or above will be considered gifted and will likely be enrolled into a gifted program.

NWEA (Winter 2020) 8th Grade Language Usage RIT Scores

The average RIT score for students across the US is 218.

Students scoring below 201 will be among the lower percentile of students.
Students scoring above 232 will be among the higher percentile of students.

Students scoring above 246 will be considered gifted and will likely be enrolled into a gifted program.

NWEA (Winter 2020) 8th Grade Science RIT Scores

The average RIT score for students across the US is 212.

Students scoring below 199 will be among the lower percentile of students.
Students scoring above 225 will be among the higher percentile of students.

Students scoring above 238 will be considered gifted and will likely be enrolled into a gifted program.

How to Pass the 8th Grade MAP Test

Students will have a significantly higher chance of succeeding in the MAP tests when parents and teachers commit to preparation.

There are plenty of ways to ensure a student’s success in the MAP assessments. Firstly, it is important to consider the variables outside of the student’s academic environment.

Mitigate Stress

If you are a parent, you must provide a comfortable environment for your child to study and rest.

Students perform significantly worse during exams when they are under any amount of stress. Therefore, a healthy environment is paramount to their academic success.

Parent/Teacher Meetings

Parents can meet with teachers to discuss the student’s current academic performance.

Parents and teachers can make the necessary adjustments to the student’s learning experience to ensure their success by discussing their strengths and weaknesses.

Rest

The student must receive adequate rest during the assessment period.

Consistent rest throughout the learning and testing period will boost the student’s chances of overall academic success.

Healthy Diet

A student must receive a consistently healthy diet. Studies show that diet directly affects your overall cognitive ability.

A healthy diet will ensure that the student will maintain focus and energy during their learning and assessment period.

Practice Resources

There are resources available online that students can use to prepare for the official MAP assessments.

Students and parents can download free versions of the MAP tests to know what to expect during the assessment period.

The practice tests are not adaptive like the official MAP tests. So, the difficulties of the practice tests will remain the same as students progress. Therefore, it should not indicate how the student will do during the official assessment.

Preparing for Mathematics

  • Encourage the student to play board games and puzzles such as chess and sudoku. The student will learn to solve problems dynamically and systematically.

  • Find opportunities for the student to perform mental arithmetic. Impromptu challenges can be a fun, enriching way to improve the student’s mathematical ability.

  • Teach the student about money. Money is a great incentive for students to further their understanding of applied mathematics.

  • Encourage the student to interpret graphs from a topic that interests them—providing a statistic on a topic that the student enjoys will be a great way to learn how to read and interpret graphical representations.

Preparing for Reading

  • Encourage the student to read books for fun. There are hundreds of thousands of books that a student in the 8th grade will find interesting. Recreational reading will provide the student with an improved vocabulary and better reading comprehension.

  • Encourage the student to play word-related games and puzzles like Scrabble and word searches.

Preparing for Language Usage

  • Provide the student with a discussion-rich environment. Allowing the student to exercise their vocabulary and overall conversational ability will improve their grasp of the language.

  • Encourage the student to write journals or partake in creative writing. Recreational writing will automatically improve the student’s ability to formulate sentences and organize their thoughts.

  • Encourage the student to write personal letters to friends and family members.

  • Allow the student to practice recall and retention by reading a piece of text and recalling key information immediately afterward.

  • Improve the student’s vocabulary by selecting a word of the day to use throughout the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

The average 8th grader should look to achieve 225 on the mathematics section, 216 on language usage and 218 on reading.

The MAP test is an examination of where the student needs to improve, so they don't have to achieve the best results.

What is more important is that weaknesses are highlighted so the student and teachers know where to concentrate on.

Final Thoughts

It is important to understand that the main objective of the MAP assessments is to judge the student’s growth.

Parents and teachers should use the MAP tests results to observe where the student is along their academic process. However, the MAP test results should not be used to judge the student’s current performance amongst their fellow students.

Academia is a stressful period in a young person’s life, and they should receive the best learning experience possible during their academic career.

The NWEA intends to ensure that each student can perform to the best of their abilities. Every student is given the opportunity to showcase their strengths and talents—this is made possible with effective growth assessments.

If you consistently follow the tips in this article, the chances of the student’s success in the official MAP assessments will increase dramatically.