Friday, September 27, 2013

Tips for Preparing for the MAP Tests

This week is the second week of our MAP Fall testing session. The Measure of Academic Progress -- or MAP as it is generally known-- is a computer-generated test. The MAP was designed to measure primary student-level knowledge in reading and math. Each student takes a unique test because the program is designed to ask progressively more difficult questions if a student answers correctly, or ask easier ones if the opposite is true. The results of the MAP tests help students, parents and educators plan accordingly

Involving all the stakeholders -- students, parents, teachers, administrators -- presents a "united front" in preparing for the MAP. Everyone's being actively involved in the lead-up to the MAP test will result in less stress and higher scores. Working with the free online preparation tests will help parents better understand the standardized test their child is taking.
If parents help their children with their homework and monitor the progress, students will develop a better knowledge base. The math section, for example, assesses general math as well as concepts and processes. The IXL skills our Elementary Students have been practicing is a great way for students to prepare for the MAP assessments.
With online practice tests, students can become familiar with the format and the expectations. Students need to understand how to answer multiple-choice questions on a computer generated test. For example, they can click on different answers, but once they press "go" they cannot change their minds. The more they practice with the genre, the more comfortable they will be with it.
In preparation for the MAP, students should get a good night's sleep and have breakfast before taking the tests. Like any activity that requires mental concentration, the MAP is best taken when refreshed.
If you would like to help your child prepare for these assessments, select a link below (math or reading practice) and click on the score ranges your child received on the last MAP assessment.  (Please contact your child’s teacher if you do not know your child's last MAP scores.) This will direct you to leveled activities that are appropriate practice for upcoming MAP assessments.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What are the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)? - Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) are a series of tests developed by Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) that measure your child's general knowledge in reading, math, and science. Our Elementary Students will be taking MAP tests Starting September 23, 2013. This is the first of the regularly three scheduled testing sessions at Discovery School each year.  The results of these tests give students, parents, teachers and administrators some excellent data to help make educational decisions.

What are Measures of Academic Progress Used For?
- They measure your child's progress or growth in school. You may have a chart in your home on which you mark your child's height at certain times-such as on their birthday. This is a growth chart. It shows how they have grown from one year to the next. The Measures of Academic Progress also measure your child's growth, except they measure your child's growth in Reading, Math skills, and  language Usage.

How Do the Tests Measure Growth in Learning? - The Measures of Academic Progress use scores to measure growth in reading, math, and science (gr. 7 only). Scores depend on two things: how many questions are answered correctly and the difficulty of each question.

What Do the Tests Cover? - Each Measure of Academic Progress is made up of parts, which are called goals. Take a look at these sample goal areas for each test. Your child will take tests with goals that are similar to these: Reading , Word Meaning, Literal Comprehension, Inferential Comprehension, Evaluative Comprehension, Mathematics, Estimation and Computation, Number Sense, Geometry and Spatial Sense, Measurement, Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability, Patterns, Functions, and Algebra, Problem Solving and more.
When you, your child, and your child's teacher look at MAP results in the Student Led Conferences on Friday October 25, 2013 it may become apparent that certain goal areas need more attention than others.

Do All Students Take the Same Test? - Yes and no. - All students take a computerized reading, math, and language usage test. Although every test has questions covering the same goal areas, not every test has the same questions, and the test questions vary in difficulty.
In a computerized adaptive test, the difficulty of the 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. This enables the school to monitor the growth of students of all abilities.

How Important are the Tests to Students and to Teachers? - These tests are very important because they keep track of each child’s progress or growth in the basic skills. They let teachers know where students' strengths are and if help is needed in any specific areas. MAP is just one look at how children are doing. Teachers already routinely assign projects and tasks, administer other tests, discuss student work, and report grades. These are all very important ways of looking at student progress. This information allows teachers to make the best instructional desicions to meet all of their students’ needs.

The best thing your child can do to prepare for testing is to work hard in school every day. Regular attendance, good nutrition, and adequate rest are also important components for successful test performance. Reminding your child to do the best he/she can is a good practice. Please check with your child’s teacher if you would like the specific days and times when these assessments will be administered.

MAP assessments are just one of the many tools that we use at Discovery School to offer each child the best education possible!

If you would like more information, please visit

Friday, September 13, 2013


Communication is the foundation for all parental involvement activities at school. Typically, most parents hear from the school only when their child is in trouble. At Discovery School, we try to keep the lines of communication open, and working both ways. Parents want their students to get a good education and have fun in school. Teachers want to get through to students and provide them with a good education. Communication is the key to making this happen. When parents and teachers communicate well and work together, everyone comes out ahead—the student, the parents, and the teacher. 

Discovery School teachers take their role in effective communication with parents very seriously. Our teacher are very prompt in posting the weekly information on their grade/classroom blogs. By blogging every week, parents are informed at all times of the content and skills that are being addressed in the classroom, as well as of special activities that are coming up.  Furthermore, it is school policy for teachers to report immediately to parents any situation that may directly affect a student. This communication may come in the form of an email or a phone call, and sometimes in a note being sent home, or a request for a conference.  

Home-school communication helps teachers and parents develop strong relationships that motivate the students to work harder at school and improve their academic performance. Parents can learn basic teaching tips and concepts that assist them in reinforcing what is being taught at school. This in turn presents a unified front for each child.

When parents and teachers communicate well with each other, children benefit and are more likely to have success at school. The best way to really focus on a student’s progress is a face to face meeting between teachers and parents. Parent-teacher conferences provide this opportunity, and are an important step in creating a positive home and school communication. Parents do not need to wait until the Mid Term or Report Cards to do this. Our teachers have preparation times during the day when they can meet with parents and talk about each child’s progress or areas of opportunity. Please check your child’s schedule to see when the teacher is available to talk to you and set up an appointment. We understand that everyone has very busy schedules, so while you are able to set up an appointment with your child’s teacher, a phone call or an email may be your best alternative in keeping the communication lines open between school and home.

A healthy, honest and friendly relationship between parents and teachers contributes to the student’s learning and success at school. However, when a difficult situation arises, the best way to resolve a conflict is at a parent-teacher level. Problems are more likely to be resolved when people talk directly to each other. Everyone benefits when teachers and parents work together on behalf of the students. The school Parent-Student Handbook provides clear guidelines on the chain of communication, and what to do when one of the parties feels communication at a certain level has not been effective.

When parents and teachers communicate well and work together, everyone comes out ahead—the student, the parents, and the teacher.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Importance of Mid Term Progress Reports 

The Discovery School teachers will be sending the first Mid Term Progress Reports this Thursday, September 12. These reports serve an important role in allowing teachers, students and parents to track how well the student is doing in school during a 4 week period, before report cards are issued at the end of each quarter. They give students a chance to correct study habits, modify their behaviors and make other changes to keep themselves on a positive academic course.

Purpose - By creating and sending home progress reports, teachers show parents where their child stand with their academic achievements and in-class behaviors. Parents may appreciate this information so that they can reward their children for doing well or make changes to the at-home schedule by implementing more study time to help kids get back on track academically.

Student Awareness – Mid term reports give students an academic advantage. They get to see how well they are in class. This helps eliminate some of the shock that comes when they get their end of the quarter or year report cards. With mid term progress reports, students have the chance to identify their improvement needs and make changes to bring their grades up before the final report cards are released.

Teacher Tracking - Teachers can track how well their students are doing in class and learning the material through school progress cards. By issuing these mid term progress reports, teachers are forced to review student strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis. The teacher can then determine whether the lesson needs to be readdressed with the class. Since teachers have classroom standards to reach, mid term progress reports can help them see whether the class is meeting those academic expectations.

Communication Link – Our mid term progress reports are just anoter communication link between teachers, students and parents. Through  them, everyone involved has the same information and understanding of the student's progress in school. This helps keep information consistent between all parties and opens the door for communication between teachers and students, students and parents and teachers and parents to the benefit of the student's education.

What to do next? – Take the time to sit down and discuss the reports with your child. Please sign and return the mid term progress reports to your child’s teacher. If you would like to discuss the mid term progress reports in a conference, and one has not been requested by a tecaher, please call the school as soon as possible to set up an appointment. Our students’ educational achievement and success are our goal, and your involment as parents is crucial in achieving this.