Recent Press

Leveraging Data for Academic Growth

One of the most exciting parts about teaching is seeing the amazing academic growth that students can make within a school year. As a data-driven school, we are constantly using a variety of assessments to determine students’ academic understanding and growth. A key tool in the tracking of this growth is the MAP test that students take three times during the school year. Without any prior knowledge of this test or the meaning of students’ scores, I was unaware at the start of the year just how much these MAP scores would tell me about my students’ understanding and growth over the course of the year.

At first glance, a MAP score is just a number – but when used to examine student academic achievement and to plan for further instruction, this number is crucial. By using information about the knowledge needed to achieve different score ranges, the first grade team worked to compile instructional plans to target the needs of students at all levels of the academic spectrum.

One of the most exciting stories of growth from my class was a boy who was new to KIPP as a first-grader. He came to us as a struggling reader, and I was concerned about his academic performance for much of the year. In first grade, the ability to read becomes increasingly crucial to academic success in all subject areas, as students are steadily required to read and understand more of their work. When we took the Fall MAP test, this new student’s score was not surprising based on what I had already observed – he was in the 19th percentile in Reading. Throughout the year, he worked so hard to become a better reader. It was often frustrating for him, and there were times when he didn’t want to try anymore. After months of hard work, however, it was as if it suddenly clicked. By our Winter MAP test, he had jumped to the 36th percentile in Reading. As he continued to become a more proficient reader, it was most exciting to also see the love for reading that he developed. His confidence grew astoundingly, and he came with joy to read with me each day. When the Spring MAP test arrived, he scored in the 48th percentile. For him, and for me, this 30-percentile change was evidence of all of the hard work he had put in throughout the school year. From reading on a mid-Kindergarten level when he arrived at KIPP, to leaving first grade reading on grade level, he had made astounding growth.

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Carissa Godwin
Chief of External Affairs