New assessment tool replaces longtime MAP tests

students in class learning



A new assessment taking the place of MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) testing has made evaluating data easier for teachers and decreased testing time for students, allowing for more focused instruction time.


Blue Valley started using Fastbridge at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year. Fastbridge is an adaptive assessment, meaning it's tailored to each student. The test gets harder when students answer questions correctly and easier when students answer questions incorrectly.


The district’s goal for the school year is to have 84% of students who take the assessment score in the low-risk or college-ready category — or the 40th percentile. 


Fastbridge, the Kansas State Department of Education’s preferred assessment instrument, replaces MAP testing as the district’s reading comprehension tool for second through fifth grade and reading, screening and diagnostic testing for middle and high school. The district continues to utilize the iReady math assessment for second through eighth grades and Acadience as the reading screener for kindergarten through fifth grade. 


“Fastbridge should help with our state-required dyslexia work, but should also help us improve students’ literacy skills,” said Adam Wade, the district’s director of academic programs and accountability.


The data produced from the Fastbridge assessments is more actionable, allowing teachers to understand better how they can help students learn and intervene when needed. 


Janelle Samuel, a reading specialist at Overland Trail Middle, said Fastbridge has simplified the ability to get usable data that focuses on various core components of reading. 


“Fastbridge has been a more efficient tool to screen all of our middle school students to ensure they have the foundational literacy skills necessary for all subject areas,” Samuel said. “It has allowed me to see which students are on target to meet current and future benchmarks as well as identify students who may need extra support with reading.”


Samuel said the Fastbridge data has allowed her to target instruction and adapt lessons to be more prescriptive to students’ needs. The progress monitoring tool in Fastbridge lets her see which students are responding to instruction and what supplemental or targeted instruction may be most beneficial if needed. 


“School-wide, teachers have been able to make data-informed decisions about whole-group instruction,” Samuel said. “They are becoming more intentional about incorporating classroom reading supports, such as targeted morphology lessons, which increase vocabulary knowledge.”