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How to Pass the NWEA 3rd Grade Map Test

Updated April 26, 2022

By Vicky Miller
Vicky Miller

The 3rd Grade MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test is an adaptive test taken by students in the third grade which assesses their learning progress.

The results can help to identify future learning goals for individuals, as well as identify students who are in need of additional support in some areas of their learning.

What Is the NWEA 3rd Grade Map Test?

The MAP test is set by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), which creates assessments for students from kindergarten up to the 12th grade.

The NWEA 3rd grade MAP test is taken by children in the 3rd grade.

It is a computerized test that is designed to give an indication of a child’s progress throughout the year, their educational needs and whether they might need any additional support.

The MAP test differs from traditional examinations that students take in that it is adaptive.

This means that, unlike standardized tests, students who take the 3rd grade MAP test will get a unique set of questions rather than answering exactly the same ones as their peers.

As the student gives correct answers on the MAP test, the questions become increasingly challenging.

However, if incorrect answers are entered, the following question will be an easier one.

There is also no time limit in which the test has to be finished.

What Does the Test Cover?

The MAP test covers three core competencies:

  • Math
  • Language
  • Reading

Some school districts also include questions on basic science.

NWEA 3rd Grade MAP Test Math Section

Some of the areas the math section of the test may cover include:

  • Numbers and operations – This tests mental math abilities, counting, the ability to make basic calculations, understanding of fractions, understanding of place value, etc.

  • Algebra – This section might include solving equations where some of the information is blank.

  • Geometry and geometric reasoning – This tests whether students can see how 2D or 3D shapes might fit together as well as concepts like parallel lines or symmetry.

  • Identifying pattern and sequences – Students might have to fill in the blanks, understand how numbers correlate and find missing numbers in a set.

Calculators are not required for most of the math section of the MAP test, although an online calculator may appear at intervals to help with some questions.

The math questions on the MAP test should cover a range of topics that will be familiar to most 3rd graders.

There are generally 53 questions in this section, but the nature of the test means that the number of questions each student gets varies.

NWEA 3rd Grade MAP Test Language Section

Some of the areas the language section of the test may cover include:

  • Language – How to form correct sentences, phrases and paragraphs, using appropriate language and correct spellings, understanding nouns, verbs and adjectives and different tenses; understanding basic linguistic terms.

  • Grammar – This tests knowledge of how to use basic grammar and punctuation, spotting incorrect or missing punctuation in words or sentences, using capital letters, etc.

  • Writing Standards – How to organize and structure different types of writing, very basic conventions of forming stories, paragraphs, poetry, works of fiction and non-fiction, how words have different meanings and can convey feelings or emotions.

NWEA 3rd Grade MAP Test Reading Section

The reading test section is designed for independent readers in the 3rd grade.

Generally, it tests a student’s ability within reading comprehension by presenting text as either a sentence, passage or poem and asking a question about it.

To answer, students require some level of understanding, from the simple ability to recognize words to understanding more abstract concepts or being able to draw an informed conclusion or make a prediction based on what they have read.

  • Understanding informational texts – This tests the ability to process information from non-fiction texts, find key ideas within the texts and draw conclusions.

  • Literature – Key ideas within literature, how these are formed and conveyed in the text, basic literary themes.

  • Using vocabulary – This assesses how a student uses and understands vocabulary and understands different words, the relationship between words and the meaning behind them.

Although science questions are not always included in the 3rd grade MAP test, it is still useful to practice this skill with your child.

NWEA 3rd Grade Example Questions

Here are some examples of the types of questions you may find on the MAP test:

Question 1:

Sabrina was going to the beach. She decided to wear her favorite _______ of sandals

a) pair
b) group
c) lot
d) heap

The correct answer is: a) pair

All are words that can mean several or more than one of a noun, but pair is the word that corresponds to sandals and makes the most sense here.

Question 2:

Which number is missing from the sequence?

600, 625, 650, ?, 700

The correct answer is: The missing number is 675. The numbers are ascending, with 25 added to the previous number

Question 3:

The sky has turned an aqua blue
The clouds are dancing on the roof
The sun is high, above the city
Trees sway, birds tweet, spring is so pretty

What is this an example of:

a) Poem
b) Story
c) Sentence
d) Non-fiction paragraph

The correct answer is: a) Poem

This is an example of a simple poem with short, rhyming lines.

Question 4:

Read this sentence and add in the contraction for could not in the blank space:

Jayden loved sport. Soon, he would be starting middle school. He ______ wait to join the track team.

The correct answer is: 'couldn’t' is the correct contraction (this tests whether the child understands the linguistic term or can work it out).

How Is the Test Scored?

The NWEA uses RIT (Rasch unIT scale) to calculate the scores for their MAP tests. This works by calculating a score in relation to a student’s previous results.

The main indicator here will be how students are performing in relation to their peers and previous results, rather than what the actual number is.

As these tests are computerized, scores are usually immediately available.

How To Pass the NWEA 3rd Grade Map Test
How To Pass the NWEA 3rd Grade Map Test

How to Succeed on the 3rd Grade MAP

The MAP test will adapt to the needs of the student and is designed to assess progress and inform future learning goals or highlight certain strengths and weaknesses.

It is possible to find practice tests online to help your child get used to the format of the test and give them an idea of the types of questions to anticipate.

Questions vary from drag and drop exercises, fill in the blanks, highlighting text and selecting answers from multiple-choice options.

The questions need to be answered in the correct way to allow the student to move onto the next one.

Therefore, it’s helpful if they can practice how to use the mouse or touchpad to select text, highlight words, numbers or punctuation and type inside a box.

Sample questions online vary from short example sets that are free to access to full practice exams featuring hundreds of questions that you have to pay for.

While it is useful for students to prepare and practice for the MAP test, the objective of the test is to get a result that indicates a true representation of the child’s capabilities at the time.

The test results should make sense when compared to the child’s previous test results; attainment here is not designed to be aspirational. It is designed to be more informational.

Tips for MAP Test Success

Try to Get Into a Routine

If you are practicing tests, try to do this for an equal amount of time each day. Study regularly and try to keep to the routine you create as far as possible (without over-stressing your child).

If the way you have been working no longer works for suits them, find a new routine that does. Remember that these tests are adaptive: learning is too.

Chat to Your Child’s Teacher

Your child’s class teacher will be able to give some indication about your child’s performance in the classroom, any areas of weakness they have noticed and how your child’s abilities compare to their peers.

This might help you decide which areas of learning you need to focus on and how you can help your child prepare for their assessment.

Read Regularly

Reading with your children helps to increase their vocabulary, can increase empathy, stimulates their imagination and gets them thinking more creatively.

Try to encourage your child to read aloud to you and ask questions about the text to assess their comprehension.

Key areas to focus on are:

  • What specific words mean – for example, if the text reads '"Yes," the boy answered sleepily.' you might ask which word indicates that he is tired?
  • What are synonyms for keywords in the text
  • How feelings or emotions are conveyed through words
  • Whether they can spot literary conventions such as onomatopoeia, repetition, rhyme etc.

Plan

Use the results of a sample test to inform your study plan. Practice key areas of weakness rather than focusing on the areas your child has already mastered.

Motivate

Try to find creative ways to include learning in everyday activities such as incorporating maths into baking or following a recipe, asking them quiz-style questions whilst in the car, doing jigsaw puzzles together to learn about shape and spatial awareness.

Most children will only be able to focus whilst sitting at a desk for a short time (outside of the classroom), so try to make their learning as fun and varied as possible.

Stay Positive

Encourage your child’s progress and appreciate their efforts rather than expecting perfection.

Offer rewards where appropriate when they show significant improvement or make a sincere attempt to focus and learn.

Prepare and Be Calm

Make sure your child has had enough sleep and has eaten something, as with any school day. It will be significantly harder for them to perform if they are tired or hungry.

Leave the house in plenty of time to negate the need to rush around or stress: this will add extra pressure that your child does not need on test day.

Frequently Asked Questions

If a student gets scores of 188 on the mathematics section, 188 on language usage and 187 on reading, they will put themselves in the top 50% of MAP test scores in the country.

For pupils who want to be in the top 5% of scores, they will have to achieve 211 on the mathematics section, 213 on language usage and 214 on reading.

A MAP test is an untimed computerized test that challenges the student in the areas of maths, language usage and reading. It is a tool used by both teachers and parents to get a solid understanding of what a student knows and what they need to improve upon.

The 3rd grade test challenges a pupil on what they have learned in that year and what they need to improve upon to succeed in the 4th grade.

Any score that puts a pupil in the top 25% is an exceptional achievement. However, do not put pressure on your child if they are not able to achieve these results. The purpose of the NWEA MAP test is to structure a better study program for pupils.

The MAP test 3rd grade reading section will challenge a student in three areas: comprehension, vocabulary and writing ability.

A student will have to answer around 40 to 43 questions pulled from a MAP online data bank. The test should take no longer than 60 minutes for a child to complete.

Final Thoughts

The RIT score that children receive for their MAP tests provides a benchmark for future assessments to be compared to.

While it is important that these scores represent their actual ability, it pays to ensure that children are fully practiced and prepared prior to taking their MAP test.

As parents, there are many ways in which learning can be supported and encouraged.

However, it is vital that unnecessary pressure is not put on students to perform that could have a negative effect on their confidence or wellbeing.

The results of the 3rd grade MAP tests should give an indication to teachers and parents as to how a child is progressing and what areas they may require support. This is so they may continue with their education and reach their full potential.

The data generated by these tests is also an invaluable resource for teachers, which can help them to make more informed decisions in the classroom.