Primary School Principal’s Message

MAP Testing

As an IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) School we follow the IB’s Standards and Practices. These are guidelines of good teaching practice which all IB schools follow. One of these practices is as follows:
‘The school analyses assessment data to inform teaching and learning.’

At TIS we have always analyzed our assessments to decide what we need to teach our students, however we are always looking at ways to make this process easier and more efficient.

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As part of this initiative, this week we had our first trial of a system called MAP. MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress. MAP is a computerized maths test which uses the same mathematics curriculum we began to implement this academic year: The Common Core.

The testing system is very clever. Unlike a normal test which everyone is asked the same questions, a MAP test adjusts the question it poses depending on the child’s previous response. If a child answered their previous question correctly, MAP will pose a harder question. If a child answered the last question incorrectly then MAP poses an easier question.

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The psychology of this testing system is very interesting: let’s think about this. If you consider yourself to be ‘bad at maths’ then you most likely find maths tests difficult. However in the MAP system children who get a question wrong are given easier next questions. So the experience is much less stressful for these sorts of students. That sounds wonderful, but think about the other side of the coin. If you consider yourself to be good at maths. then you most likely usually find maths tests easy. However the MAP system provides children who get answers right with harder questions. So a child who is a very competent mathematician may come away feeling that the test they took was more difficult (and perhaps more stressful) than testing they are used to. In actual fact all children only answer 50% of the questions right! I took the test and it was a very odd feeling as it was difficult even for me!

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Partly because of this it takes a few attempts at doing a MAP testing before a child gets used to it. It takes a while to get used to how it feels and how to use the computer system. The makers say that the test requires practice before children start producing valid data. For a school using the MAP system is quite complex in terms of technology, signing students up to the right version of the test (e.g. test with sound and pictures for new English learners). We had a few glitches as expected. Some of the questions included American (imperial measures) not the metric system. This trial has helped us to sort out these ‘teething problems’.

We are committed to MAP, and now we will meet as a staff and decide how and when we will trial the MAP tests again. We will use the data we did get, pretend it was valid/reliable and practice interpreting the data. Most likely we will have another go at MAP next term. Down the road MAP is going to be a useful additional tool for assessing maths at TIS and will help teachers decide what each individual student needs support with.

 

Jan Reynolds

We had a very exciting afternoon this Friday. We had a visiting author called Jan Reynolds. Jan Reynolds is an American author and adventurer. She has circumnavigated Mount Everest in a hot air balloon, been with rare tribes in the Amazon, held the record for high altitude skiing and is sponsored by National Geographic. In fact these are just a few of the exciting things she has done. She is a very exciting role model for everyone but perhaps most notably for girls.

Jan told us some incredible stories about her adventures sharing some of her wonderful adventures.

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Best regards,

Chris Frost
Primary School Principal