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Local Formal Assessments

Local formal assessments include:

  • aimswebPlus
  • MAP Growth
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) 


Why do students take aimswebPlus? 
AimswebPlus is an assessment and reporting system that provides information which helps teachers adjust instruction to meet the needs of each student. The tests that are a part of the aimswebPlus system provide a quick indicator of how students are doing in the basic skill areas compared to other District 31 students and to a national sample of students. Results are also used to track student progress over time. Teachers use the results along with other assessment and classroom data to identify if students need additional support.

When is the test given and who takes it?
District 31 students are tested using aimswebPlus in the fall, winter, and spring. Additionally, some students are progress monitored using weekly or bi-weekly quick tests (1-5 minutes) to more closely monitor their growth. Your child’s teacher will communicate with you if your child is going to be progress monitored.

What do the scores mean?
In Kindergarten and 1st grade students receive Early Literacy and Early Numeracy Composite Scores which reflect their overall progress in these important basic skill areas. Students in the 2nd through 8th grades receive overall composite scores in Reading and Math. Each composite score is a reflection of a student’s performance on several subtests that are combined to make up the score. Most of the subtests measure skill fluency (how automatic it is for students) in addition to skill accuracy.

The following is a description of the subtests that are used to create the composite scores:

  • Early Numeracy Composite - The subtests that are used to make up this score vary depending on grade (K or 1) and time of year (fall, winter, spring). The subtests that may be used to make up this score measure a student’s ability to verbally name numbers, add or subtract two quantities, identify which of two numbers is bigger, solve simple addition and subtraction facts, and mentally solve various types of grade appropriate math problems.
  • Early Literacy Composite - The subtests that are used to make up this score vary depending on grade (K or 1) and time of year (fall, winter, spring). The subtests that may be used to make up this score measure a student’s ability to verbally identify letter names, say the sounds of visually presented letters, syllables, and words, identify the sounds in a spoken word, and read stories.
  • Math Composite - All students in grades 2 - 8 take three subtests that are used to make up the Math Composite Score. These subtests require students to compare numbers and make judgements about their relationships, solve multiple-choice math computation problems, and solve multiple-choice math word problems.
  • Reading Composite - In grades 2-3, the three subtests that make up the Reading Composite Score ask students to identify the meanings of words, read passages to themselves and answer multiple choice questions, and orally read aloud for one minute. In grades 4-8, the subtest where students are asked to orally read aloud for one minute is replaced with a subtest which requires students to read to themselves (timed) and answer questions about what they have just read.

MAP Growth

What is MAP Growth?
MAP tests were developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). They are adaptive computerized assessments that measure a student’s instructional level. Results identify specific skills and concepts each student has learned. MAP test questions are aligned with Common Core Standards and are taken in grades K-8. Scores are used to measure student growth over time. 

Click here to learn more.

How is MAP Growth adaptive?
The MAP Growth assessment is uniquely designed to generate test questions adapted to each student’s level and ability. When a student answers test items correctly, the difficulty level increases. When a student answers test items incorrectly, the difficulty level decreases. This adjustment of item difficulty continues throughout the test and results in identifying the student’s instructional level. An instructional level informs us of the skills and concepts individual students have learned and what they need to learn. This gives teachers valuable information on what and how to teach each student.

Who takes MAP Growth and what subject areas are tested?
Students in kindergarten through eighth grades are assessed in the areas of reading and math. 

How often is MAP Growth administered to students?
Students in the first through eighth grades take MAP Growth in the fall, winter and spring. Kindergarten students take MAP Growth for the first time in the winter of their kindergarten year.

Who administers MAP Growth and how long do they take?
Students take MAP Growth in their classroom on their iPads or Chromebooks. Assessment sessions are proctored by their teachers unless students receive special testing accommodations. MAP tests are not timed. On average, students complete each subtest within one hour; however, students can take as much time as they need to complete them. The total testing time is approximately three hours.

How is MAP Growth scored?

  • RIT Score: MAP uses a scale score called RIT to measure a student’s achievement and growth. RIT stands for Raush Unit. The higher the RIT score, the more curriculum content a student has mastered. The RIT score is an equal interval scale, similar to feet and inches. This makes growth in learning easy to measure.
  • RIT Range: NWEA predicts what a student’s lowest and highest RIT scores could be if he/she were to take the same test multiple times. This is reflected in a RIT Range.
  • Percentile Score: The percentile score is the percent of students in the NWEA norm group study who had a RIT score less than or equal to a student’s score. For example, a percentile rank of 87% means a student scored the same as or better than 87% of the students who took this test nationally.
  • Percentile Range: The percentile range corresponds to the RIT Range.

When and how are MAP Growth results available?
Teachers have access to their class score reports for each test taken 24 hours after his/her class completes that test. Official score reports are printed and mailed home two to three weeks after all students have completed the assessment.

For more information about MAP Growth - click here

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

What is the Cognitive Abilities Test?

The CogAT is a group-administered computer-based assessment designed to measure students' reasoning and problems solving abilities compared to age mates and grade mates. The CogAT is a measure of aptitude, which provides insight into students’ readiness to demonstrate creative problem-solving skills and learn in different situations and learning environments. There are three subtests: Verbal, NonVerbal, and Quantitative.

• The verbal section measures a child’s ability to remember and transform sequences of English words, to understand them and to make inferences and judgments about them.

• The quantitative section measures a child’s understanding of basic quantitative concepts and relationships.

• The non-verbal section measures reasoning using pictures and geometric shapes. This section reduces the impact of language on the student’s score.

• The composite score is a total score for all three batteries.

Who takes the CogAT?

In March, 2024, all District 31 students in the 4th and 5th grades take the CogAT. Results are used to help determine eligibility for advanced classes, as well as identify strategies for supporting students with high aptitude in the general education classroom setting. The CogAT may be taken at other times on an individual basis if the data is needed for a placement decision.

Who administers the CogAT test and how long does it take?

Students take the CogAT with their classroom teachers. Approximately 30 minutes is allotted for each subtest. Students take three subtests: Verbal, NonVerbal, and Quantitative.

For more information, please watch this 6 minute video.