An Overview of the NWEA MAP Exam

This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  ParentOfThree 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #9729 Reply

    Test Prep Chicago

    Used by the state of Illinois to measure students’ progress throughout each school year, the NWEA MAP test is a common core aligned, computer-adaptive test designed to quantify a student’s knowledge of math and reading. Chicago Public Schools administer the test multiple times each year to measure the growth of their students’ understanding of both math and reading concepts. However, what sets the NWEA MAP test apart from other standardized tests is its computer adaptive quality. This means that it adapts its difficulty level based on whether or not a student selects a correct answer. Accordingly, for 7th and 8th graders, if students continue to answer questions correctly, the test will go out of grade level, asking high school level questions.

    For Chicago Public School students, the NWEA MAP is a common part of the school year. However, the NWEA MAP taken in the spring of the 7th-grade year is more than just a benchmark test. This test provides 1/3 of the points required to attend a Selective Enrollment High School. Each section of the test is worth 150 points, with a total of 300 points up for grabs based on their NWEA MAP score. An additional 300 points are taken from a student’s 7th-grade grades, with a final 300 points available from the Selective Enrollment High School Exam (SEHS). Additionally, for those attending Catholic or private schools, students must take the NWEA MAP test in the fall of their 8th-grade year. For more information on how to prepare for the NWEA MAP test, visit our homepage:

    Lauren Lynch, Tutoring Coordinator
    (312) 848-1266

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Test Prep Chicago.
  • #9782 Reply


    Hi, what are the scoring ranges for Reading and Math? What are the max scores if the student reaches high school level content as you mentioned?



  • #9790 Reply

    Test Prep Chicago

    Dear HainesMom,

    Thank you for your questions. Every few years, NWEA does a norming study of students’ scores throughout the country to determine the RIT/Percentile conversions. NWEA’s last study took place during the 2015-16 school year and NWEA is planning to do its next study in 2020. This year, the 7th-grade spring RIT score ranges for math and reading are listed below.

    Math: RIT score of 270 = 99%, RIT score of 258 = 95%, RIT score of 251 = 90%, etc…

    Reading: RIT score of 253 = 99%, RIT score of 243 = 95%, RIT score of 238 = 90%, etc…

    Thus, if a student is receiving a math RIT score of 270 (or higher), the student is scoring in the 99% of all students at his/her grade level. It is hard to say what exact RIT score number equates to out of grade level content as different school districts have different grade level standards for math and reading. From our experience, the difference between scoring in the low/mid 90% range and the high 90% range requires students to answer out of grade level questions (as would be considered by most Chicago schools).

    Feel free to email us directly ( if you have any additional questions and/or if you would like to receive the detailed (percent by percent RIT score/percentile conversions).

    • #9859 Reply


      Can you clarify what an RIT score of 270 equates to in terms of % of questions answered correctly?

      • #9860 Reply


        For a 7th grader, a RIT score of 270 means this: the adaptive test questions have reached a certain level of difficulty where only the top 1 percent of 7th grade students can answer half of them correctly.  If more than half of the questions are being answered correctly, the test goes on with harder questions that will lead to a higher score.  If less than half are correct, then the test gets easier until a 50/50 stability is reached – and the final score will be lower.

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  hparker.
        • #9863 Reply


          Can that 50/50 is never reached for a given student? If he/she keeps answering the questions correctly even when the questions become more difficult. How large is that sample of questions within the test to determine the 50/50?

          • #9869 Reply


            Generally a student will see around 50 questions for the math component of the NWEA MAP test.  NWEA publishes normative data through 11th grade, so the test question difficulty has to be able to increase at least enough to establish that range.  A 270 would be at the 99.7 percentile mark for an 11th grader referenced against the 2015 norms.  Presumably if the student were answering every question correctly, the last several questions would be questions that were very difficult for an 11th grade student to answer.

  • #9851 Reply


    My 6th grader’s MAP scored scored 99-R and 90-Math (last one was 96 not sure what happened). He wants to apply to the SEHS but the math score has to improve. Does anyone have suggestions on how to prepare for the 7th grade MAPs?  I’ve already heard of the test prep courses (testprep and selectiveprep) but has anyone used the online “ThinksterMath” or the in-class Kuman tutoring- types?

  • #9853 Reply


    I take issue with a few of the statements in the original post.

    NWEA MAP is not explicitly used by the State of Illinois, though some individual school districts in Illinois use it.  The State of Illinois had adopted PARCC and now uses the Illinois Assessment of Readiness.  NWEA MAP as taken by CPS students is not explicitly Common Core aligned, though studies have suggested the questions align closely and NWEA does offer a separate test that explicitly aligns with the Common Core standards that other states use.

    @momof3 I don’t have experience with it but have you seen this?

    • #9854 Reply


      Thanks for the link! Kahnacademy sounds familiar but I may be confusing it with the IXL.  I will check with my kid. 🙂 TY.

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