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III. ACTION PLAN:    A. Technology Access    B. ICT Literacy    C. Professional Development    D. Community Involvement     [Data]

ICT Literacy Toolkit
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Effective Projects Case Study


NWEA Testing at Franklin School District


This is a story about a project that started 12/1/2006.

For more information, please contact: Rebecca Gagnon at


We wanted to increase our use of the NWEA MAP testing to include 9th and 10th grade students. We test in reading, language usage, math, and science. By adding the high school students, we have a consistent method of testing all students in grades 2-10. This testing allows us to set individual student goals, deliver instruction at the appropriate learning levels of each student, and assess their individual gains in learning within the same school year. As we move towards becoming a district that makes decisions based on student data, this testing provides us with a critical piece of our data set.


Funding: This project was supported by $10,438 from NCLB Title II-D (Educational Technology) and $6,800 in local funds. The project illustrates how federal funding supports “Data collection and analysis – Implementing individualized instruction by collecting, managing, and analyzing data to inform and enhance teaching and school improvement efforts.” The project addressed the following grades and content areas: 

PreK-2 Gr3-5  Gr6-8  Gr9-12  EngLangArts  Math  Science     


The Setting: Although classified as a city, Franklin schools have a total population of less than 1500 students and a poverty rate higher than 50%. Despite this high rate, we are rich in technology with mobile labs in each school and multiple computers in each elementary school classroom. Two years ago, Franklin made the commitment to provide all certified staff members with a laptop. We rely heavily on our network and a terminal services environment to ensure that our equipment maintains longevity while our resources stay current. With our current SAU administration, we are working to change the culture of Franklin into one that makes decisions for our programs and resources based on data. School Portfolios,  Data Teams, Performance Tracker, TechPaths Curriculum Mapping, student portfolios, NWEA testing, NECAP testing, Reading First, and a number of other programs are all spokes on the wheel of our Follow the Child commitment.


The plot: For us, the biggest challenge was making the shift in each school and as a district to become a system that uses data. Learning how to read data, interpret data, and really, having conversations about data was a challenge. We relied heavily on a number of training sessions to provide both administrators and teachers with the tools and training to make this happen. Because NWEA testing is still relatively new, scheduling is something we struggle with during implementation. Trying to test 1400 students - in four subject areas - during the first month of school - while trying to have the smallest impact on the school day, was difficult. We had the resources and the technology worked very well. Just scheduling the four different buildings was a challenge – especially at the high school level.


The teachers: 65 teachers were directly involved. All of our teachers in grades 2-10 were involved. That’s about 65 teachers. They were all important in many ways. In each school, there were a few teachers who took on the role of Proctor for the testing. They helped to make the actual testing happen. Then, there were teachers at each school who were specifically trained by NWEA to access and read MAP results. They became the trainers in their buildings for all the other teachers. Another group of teachers at each school were part of the school’s data team and meet with the principals on a regular basis to look at various data sources and help to make decisions around curriculum and instruction for the students. Every teacher is responsible to use the data available on a regular basis to make adjustments within their classrooms to meet the needs of their students.


The students: This project was all about the students. The goal of NWEA testing is to provide teachers with a clear understanding of each individual child’s learning readiness level. This way, teachers can develop lessons and groupings that will accommodate the learning level of the individual students in each subject area. The teachers and students are given a growth target goal for each student to meet by the end of the school year and they are provided with a list of what that means in relation to both the NH standards and their individual learning continuum. We were able to do flexible groupings for students around different topics in each subject area that allowed for students to learn at a level that was appropriate for them.


The data: We collect MAP scores from students and will continue to do so. Our hope is that students are meeting their growth targets. As for the implementation of this project, we have anecdotal data and surveys from each school’s data team, proctor group, and teachers as to how the testing process worked, how successful/helpful the trainings were, and how the data helped inform curriculum instruction.


The difference: We are about to do our Spring testing and will know at the conclusion of that testing cycle what gains were made. As for teachers, they are much more confident about having discussions centered on data as well as how to differentiate instruction within their classroom. Our NECAP scores improved. While this is not a direct result of MAP testing, we do believe from what we have seen and heard from teachers is that the NWEA testing has helped them focus on the strengths and weaknesses of their students, allowing them to make the modifications necessary in a timely fashion.


Essential conditions: We had to have a well organized testing environment.  Students needed to be prepared for the test and understand its importance.  Teachers needed to be prepared for the testing and know what was expected of them before, during, and after the testing.  Parents need to be aware of the testing – what it is and what it means.  Everyone (administrators, proctors, teachers) needed to be well trained in their roles for this process.


Changes for the future: We need to find way to help the high school students feel more connected to the testing. Some, not all, did not take this testing as seriously as we would have liked them to. We would like to have done the evaluation after the second testing session to see if gains were made as we hope.


Recommendations: NWEA testing is an excellent indicator of how successful your curriculum and instruction are. The first step for anyone thinking about doing this testing would be to determine exactly why you want to do the testing. We would suggest that you develop a three-year implementation plan and work with small groups to roll this out. Be sure ahead of time that staff is clear on why this testing is happening and what you will use the results for. Training is key and critical if this is going to be used successfully.


Telling our story: We communicate with parents by sending home MAP results and we use them as a piece of the conversation during parent/teacher conferences. We also do a report to the school board and release general results to them. We need to do a better job of goal setting and communicating with students on an individual basis about what their MAP scores mean.


Documents to share:  We pulled a lot of our resources from the NWEA website –