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Using the MAP Assessment with Students Who are Visually Impaired: A Residential School Perspective

Governor Morehead School for the Blind shares their first year experiences of taking the new accessible version of the MAP assessments.

School year 2016-2017 was a pilot year for the MAP assessments at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. As a school, we were looking for a way to provide progress monitoring to all students in reading, language, and math, and the MAP assessment was chosen for this purpose. Some GMS students had participated in a pilot of the program during the 2015-2016 school year, and their success in accessing the assessment gave us confidence that we could use the MAP schoolwide

Students in Elementary, Middle, and High school participated in the assessments, which were given in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Students who are on the Extension of Standard Course of Study (functional curriculum) were not included in the pilot assessment, but will be added in the future.

Administration

For this pilot assessment, all students used screen readers (JAWS or NVDA) to access the assessment. Students with low vision were also able to enlarge the screen if they chose to do so. A few students used braille displays in addition to the screen readers. Here are some points to keep in mind when administering the MAP assessment to students with VI.

Data Analysis and Progress Monitoring

The MAP website has a plethora of tools for mining and using the data collected during the assessment. The variety of reports available allows school staff to view individual progress, overall school progress, and plan ways to individualize instruction. Highlights and things to consider when viewing MAP data.

Overall

Overall, the pilot of the MAP assessment at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind went smoothly. While there were some glitches during the fall administration (primarily with screen reader settings), the learning curve was not steep, and Winter and Spring administrations went very well. The MAP program allows for easy customization of breaks and testing sessions, which allows for students with differing accommodations to test together.

The MAP assessment focus on growth rather than proficiency allows for progress monitoring of ALL students, not just those who are at or above grade level. The tools found on the website make progress easy to see and monitor, with no knowledge of statistics needed.

The only concerns we had as a school is that the  reading test should be considered verbal comprehension test until all students who use braille have access to and experience using a braille display during the assessment.

In conclusion, the pilot of the MAP assessment at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind was a success. While there are some minor concerns, the assessment is easy to administer and provides valuable information about student growth. We plan to continue the program for next school year.

 

Editor’s Note:  For more information about the accessibility of MAP growth assessments, view these Paths to Technology posts:

 

By Lori Truzy

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