Computerized adaptive tests are taken on a computer. The difficulty of a test is adjusted to the student's performance so each student sees different test questions. The difficulty of each question is based on how well the student has answered the questions up to that point. As the student answers correctly, the questions become more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier.
Districts have the option of testing their students up to four times a year. Students typically take tests at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year. Some districts may also choose to test students in winter and summer.
The scale NWEA uses to measure a student's progress is called the RIT scale, short for Rasch Unit. The RIT scale is an equal-interval scale much like centimeters on a meterstick. It is used to chart a student's academic growth from year to year.
In general, students in grades 3 through 10 take MAP tests because the tests are grade independent, they may be appropriate for students in lower or higher grades. NWEA is completing the development of tests for early primary grade students.