Formative or Summative? That is the Question.

Step Up For Students School Leadership Resources

Students are back in their seats and inevitably they will take assessments.  The type of assessment is completely up to you as their teacher. So, what will it be: formative or summative? Such goes the age-old question. When people think assessment, they tend to think scantrons and number 2 pencils, but this is not always the case as this topic has evolved in recent years as well as teachers’ reasons for assessing.

Formative assessments provide both students and teachers with the information they need to improve the learning process right now. This is an ongoing assessment that may or may not be graded.  This assessment is seen more as an opportunity to examine the results and use those to inform instruction in the classroom right away. You might give a quiz and realize that more than half of your class has not captured the concept, so instead of trudging forward, you reteach and reassess.  Being able to push the pause button on moving forward with a new concept and making sure they truly grasped the first concept is exactly what formative assessments are about.

Examples of formative assessments include:
• Quizzes
• Lesson exit tickets
• Classroom polls
• A written summary of a lesson

Summative assessments aim to evaluate student learning and achievement and is generally administered at the end of a unit or course. Summative assessments occur only a few times over the academic year and always yield a specific point value. Because they are broader in scope and measure learning over a longer period, they tend to have higher stakes.  Remember that this assessment provides a snapshot of how students are performing at a particular point in time.

Examples of summative assessments include:
• End of term or midterm exams
• End of unit or chapter tests
• Cumulative work such as a creative portfolio or final project
• State exams

Both formative and summative assessments collect useful, important information.  However, in the end, it is what you do with the assessments that make it either or. Getting state exam results and putting them in a data binder makes them just results.  It is the actions you take with the information that determine their true use.

Need some tips on how to prevent School Leader burnout? See our highlights below or click here to read the full article.

  1. Have a regular routine of self-care.

Regular time outdoors, a spiritual practice, or a gratitude journal are all research-proven ways to help leaders prevent a downwards slides towards burnout.

  1. Learn to regularly unplug from your devices.

Taking one night off a week is a small price to pay for continued energy and it’s also great modeling and permission for your team so they don’t get burned out as well!

  1. Become more discerning about the work you take on (when possible) and learn to clearly communicate what you can and cannot realistically handle.

Notice if your energy is being diverted to worries or other negative thought patterns and then take action to adopt a more productive mindset.

  1. Become aware of the signs of burnout, especially in terms of its onset and progression.

If a leader learns the signs of burnout and checks in with themselves every month or so, they can catch it much earlier. 

Spring Testing Resources

Step Up For Students School Leadership Resources

Spring testing season is upon us! We know you are gearing up for your end of year assessments this month. We hope the resources below will make your preparations easier and inspire you to try something new.

Get Teachers and Students Ready

Positive Test Prep Activity for Parents

Two weeks before testing, ask parents to send a note encouraging their child to do their best on the end of the year assessment.  Provide parents and/or family members with the materials to write the letters. Think about sending home fancy paper, envelopes, and make some suggestions of things to say. Give the parents the option to text or record their message, create posters, email their messages or mail in their letters to allow flexibility and creativity. Before you administer the test, give students the message to read or view before they begin.

Advice for Remote Testing

Nervous about testing students remotely this year? Don’t worry, with proper preparation and guidance, remote testing can go as smoothly as an in-person testing session.

Looking for Social Emotional Learning Curriculum?

Attitude is Altitude is a CASEL-aligned social emotional learning curriculum designed for grades K-12. Nick Vujicic, a world-renowned motivational speaker, launched the initiative to help guide and inspire students with Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) after experiencing a childhood of hardship due to bullying.

To view more resources from the Student Learning and Partner Success team click here!

MAP Growth News for December

Step Up For Students MAP Growth Assessment

Winter Test Window

Reminder: The winter testing window for schools in the NWEA/SUFS MAP Growth Partnership is

December 2, 2019 -January 24, 2020

*Remember to schedule your winter testing session within this window!

MAP Growth Admin Webinar

Our MAP Growth Administrator webinars are still happening, with 2 more sessions left. Don’t miss out as we analyze school-wide student achievement data using MAP Growth and explore MAP Growth tips and school-wide reports to use in staff discussions. Remember, for schools new to the partnership in 2019-2020 this is a mandatory webinar.

Tip: How to Reuse Saved Test Sessions

Struggling to set up sessions for the winter test? Check out this tip from NWEA on how to reuse saved test sessions.

MAP Growth Student Practice Tests

Did your students use the practice tests before their fall test? Don’t miss an opportunity for them to practice before the winter test!

Check out the student resources available here: Resources include videos explaining the MAP Growth tests, an option to explore tools used in the test, and easy access to the practice tests including practice username and password.

Upcoming Webinars that support MAP Growth
MAP Growth: Looking at Growth 

Have you registered for your third MAP Reports training session? Even if you are not in your first year of using MAP, this course is a great refresher on using the Growth Quadrant report. Click the link here to register today: Register Now.



*Do you have rostering or technology questions for the winter session? Remember to call NWEA tech support at 877-467-3287 with questions! To view all previous MAP Growth Assessment postings, click here.

MAP Growth News for November

Step Up For Students MAP Growth Assessment

What are My Students Ready to Learn?

Are you wondering about your next step for planning instruction? For the Teachers is here to help with Curriculum Ladders for Lesson Planning! You can quickly find the topic you are planning to teach, print the PDF of that topic and write in your students’ names next to their Instructional/Goal Area RIT ranges (from the Class Report or Class Breakdown by Goal Report) to create differentiated groups based on what they are ready to learn. These ladders are available in Reading, Math, and Language. Check them out HERE!

Why Should I Send My Teachers to the SUFS/NWEA MAP Growth Professional Learning Sessions?
  • Your attendance allows us to provide required NWEA MAP Growth professional learning to your staff at no additional cost to you.
  • Your attendance as a leader allows you to move your school culture forward when everyone trains together.
  • You signed the SUFS/NWEA Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to send “all teachers and administrators” to all professional learning sessions.
MAP Growth Administrator Webinar

The Impact of MAP on our School Community is a one-hour, interactive webinar for school administrators and other MAP Growth school leaders only. Your teachers do NOT need to attend this one. Administrators will be able to share ideas and network with others across the state as you begin to analyze schoolwide student achievement data using MAP Growth, as well as explore MAP Growth tips and schoolwide reports to use in staff discussions. You have six options: You can click the link below to register for the one that works with your schedule. Once you register, you will receive the link to the webinar with further information on how to join.

Course-Specific Math Norms

Did you know that NWEA has course-specific norms for the Geometry and Algebra 1 & 2 tests?  You can access these norms to see percentile and growth projections for your secondary students taking these tests. These norms aren’t yet integrated into the MAP Growth reports, so to get the clearest picture of how your students compare to other students taking the Course-Specific Math tests, check them out HERE!

To view all previous MAP Growth Assessment postings, click here.

MAP Growth News for October

Step Up For Students MAP Growth Assessment

Check out these helpful resources from NWEA to help you determine the most appropriate test type for your students. Don’t forget that students can take as much time as they need on a MAP Growth assessment. You can always suspend their test and have them complete it later, and in fact, we recommend suspending testing after 45 minutes to prevent fatigue. NWEA recommends that suspended tests be completed within 14 days of the start date.

Tips for Proctors
  1. Wondering how to get a student back into a test session if they get kicked out of a test? See Student cannot find name when joining a test session. If a student is appearing as Confirmed but cannot start the test, see Confirmed student cannot start test.
  2. Need to add a student to an open or a saved test session? See How to add a student to an existing testing session. Did you delete a test session accidentally? See What happens if I delete a test session? Can it be recovered?
  3. You can always access the Proctor Quick Start  guide for an overview.
A New Way to Share MAP Growth Data with Families

Have you seen the new Family Report? The Family Report helps families understand where their child may need extra help and how well they are doing in a subject compared to similar students nationwide. For more help sharing assessment data with families, take a look at the family guide to MAP Growth. There is also a sample family report translated into Spanish for those who want to share an example of a report with Spanish speakers. The actual report for each student is not yet able to be translated into Spanish.


To view all previous MAP Growth Assessment postings, click here.

MAP Growth News for September

Step Up For Students MAP Growth Assessment

Student Engagement Matters!

Student engagement is an important factor in students’ overall performance during testing. Test engagement gives teachers an accurate picture of students’ abilities and performance. NWEA believes that with the right tools, proctors will be able to gauge students’ engagement to create a more productive testing environment. Get to know the Slow Down Sloth and how he helps students reengage with the MAP Growth test HERE.

3 Questions to Ask Students before Fall Testing

Right now, over 10 million students are beginning their MAP Growth Fall assessment. Asking the right questions and having discussions with students beforehand can have a great impact on their overall performance. Check out the 3 things you need to ask your students before you begin administrating the Fall assessment HERE.

MAP Growth Using Fall Data to Guide Instruction

New MAP Growth schools: Have you registered for your first MAP Growth Reports training? September and October begin our first session of the required MAP Growth training for the 2019-2020 school year. In these sessions, teachers and administrators will gain an understanding of MAP terminology and learn how to access and interpret different MAP reports, in addition to sharing that data with stakeholders. Click the link below to register today: Register Now.

Rock the MAP Growth Test Prep Rally

Thinking of a way to get your students excited and ready for the MAP Growth Fall Assessment? Try hosting a school-wide pep rally! You can dress up as special characters, remix popular songs, have special performances, or even giveaways. Testing doesn’t have to be a drab event if you build excitement around it. Click these links for more pep rally ideas:  Resource 1 Resource 2 Resource 3.


To view all previous MAP Growth Assessment postings, click here.

MAP Growth News for August

Step Up For Students MAP Growth Assessment

Welcome Back Teachers: MAP Growth Teacher Toolkit

Looking for resources to start the year fresh, extend your learning, and add to your toolkit? NWEA has a community just for you! Click here to check out all the incredible, popular teacher resources!

Getting Parents Hooked on MAP Growth!

Thinking of new ways to orient your parents to MAP Growth? Look no further… NWEA has done an awesome job in creating an editable letter to prepare parents for MAP Growth testing. Parent letters are also available in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Russian and more! Click here to explore NWEA’s parent resources!

Student Engagement Test Preparation

Student engagement during testing is very crucial in order to determine student growth and achievement.

Click here to read more about the updates to Student Engagement!

Why bother with Assessments?

Schools use assessments to measure teaching and learning. Assessments when done without a purpose can feel like another mundane task. Check out this article from Edutopia to learn why assessments are vital to students’ growth and achievement.

MAP Sample Test Question Guide by RIT

Wondering what the MAP Growth questions look like in each RIT range? NWEA has just published a new RIT Reference Chart, to show you what the questions look like for each subject and goal area tested. Click here to check out the new RIT Reference Charts!

Does Data Drive Your Decisions?

Step Up For Students School Leadership Resources


As administrators and teachers, we are all too familiar with the  restless anxiety surrounding student achievement. As educators we wake up worrying about our students, our efforts, and our impact. The question we must begin to ask ourselves is, academically, behaviorally, socially, do we really know where our students are? Data tracking can be a great way to begin to answer that question openly and honestly with our school community. Collecting data is a game changer for schools that want to make informed decisions around student progress and instruction. This month’s resources are devoted to tackling the terrifying but transformative use of data in your decision making.

Assessment Data:

Check out this article from The 74 Million describing how private schools in Florida just like you are using assessment and data to make major academic gains for low income students!

Emotional & Social Data: 
Getting Started:
Creating a Data Culture:

Resource Alert!

Check out these scholarship opportunities from the League of Christian Schools!

The Importance of Honest Feedback about Student Progress

Step Up For Students School Leadership Resources

It’s time to ask ourselves as educators the hard question. Are we communicating clear, coherent, actionable, timely, and honest information about student progress?

A surprisingly large number of parents believe their children are on track for college, when in fact, they might not be. Read the full EdNavigator article complete with case studies!

Are you feeling concerned about having the clear, honest, and difficult conversation with some of your students’ parents? It’s important to remember (and to remind your teachers) that in order to build a positive growth mindset in our students, we must first be honest about the real progress or lack of progress our students are making!

Check out this article from Edutopia on Framing Difficult Feedback for Parents.

Remember good feedback includes clear, coherent, actionable, timely, and honest information about student progress. One assessment or assignment should not tell the whole story of a student’s academic status. Consider the option of creating a student portfolio of work. This way, students and parents can see a more complete picture of performance and growth in the classroom. This may even be a great way of initiating student-led conferences in your classroom!

Read this article from Edutopia on creating student portfolios and introducing student-led conferences.

Don’t forget!  Step Up for Students offers free Professional Learning courses on Student-Led Conferencing.

Check Out these Resources for Students with Unique Abilities!

Shriners Hospitals for Children is teaming up with the legendary rock band Foreigner to remake a classic and sell the group’s CD’s as a fundraiser. The band is donating a version of their chart-topping song, “I Want to Know What Love Is,” which was recently recorded and sung by band members and children who are Shriners patients in Tampa. Watch this inspirational video and see how you can help support the Shriners Hospital right here in Florida! Click here to learn more!

For schools serving students with unique abilities, the Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS) is a wonderful resource.  FDLRS Centers across the state provide an array of instructional and technical support services to school district Exceptional Student Education programs statewide. The four central functions of each FDLRS Associate Center are Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development, and Technology.  Find your local FDLRS center for free professional development related to serving exceptional student education, parent information and training, adaptive technology resources and much, much more!

To view all previous School Leadership Resources postings, click here.