District Testing Action Plan
DISTRICT | February 21, 2020
District Testing Action Plan

As a district, we’re committed to fostering a strong learning environment that prepares students for academic success. Assessments are a useful tool to help teachers monitor their students’ progress and provide their students with proper support. A variety of assessments are given throughout the year including the NWEA MAP, which is an untimed test administered in elementary schools.

The district was made aware of a performance review by the CPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding the NWEA MAP that identified trends on test times, pauses, and at a small number of schools, potential test administration concerns. While the OIG did not substantiate any systemic misconduct at the school or district level, the performance review highlights a need for additional guidance and training for staff on NWEA’s unique, untimed testing format. To ensure our schools are supported and have clarity on testing protocols, the district created a definitive testing action plan to provide test proctors with additional guidance, training, and auditing to ensure students use only an appropriate amount of time to complete the test. 

The historic progress our students have made in the past decade requires that we go above and beyond to ensure the integrity of our assessments, and while the OIG’s findings do not call into question our students’ academic achievements, we will be implementing all of the OIG’s recommendations to provide clarity to schools and improve test processes, including the following significant changes prior to the Spring 2020 testing window. 

  • Hiring a Test Security Expert: The district has hired a national test security company that will help provide expertise and guidance as we work to improve NWEA test administration and security procedures.
  • Strengthened Testing Policies and Guidelines on Duration and Pauses: CPS updated testing guidance for duration and pauses, which will be included in the administrator, test coordinator, and proctor test guidance documents and training for Spring 2020. 
  • Improved Training: CPS updated our mandatory training module for administrators, test coordinators, and proctors that specifically addresses testing duration, pauses, and other important testing guidelines.
  • Enhanced Monitoring and Auditing Processes: The district will conduct targeted school audits during testing, analyze daily reports to identify unusual test times, and provide additional guidance and support to schools as needed.

Moving forward, we will continue to work with parents, educators, and school leaders to evaluate the full assessment landscape in our schools and determine if opportunities exist to reduce testing time while ensuring educators and parents have access to actionable academic data to support our students.

Janice K. Jackson, EdD          LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Executive Officer          Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools          Chicago Public Schools



The district is committed to protecting instructional time and ensuring consistent testing practices across the city. The CPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently compiled a performance review on NWEA MAP testing administration that identified trends and potential concerns related to test duration and pauses at a small number of district schools.

Below is a summary of the OIG’s findings and our plan of action: 


Summary of Findings:

  • NWEA MAP is an assessment administered at CPS elementary schools and is one of many metrics the district uses to gather an understanding of academic improvements and performance. 
  • The OIG found that some CPS students took longer to complete the NWEA and paused their tests more often than their peers nationally.  
  • It is important to note that the OIG did not substantiate systemic or individual wrongdoing, nor did the OIG conclude that NWEA MAP results are invalid

The district has exhibited significant and sustained academic progress as noted by multiple independent studies conducted by Stanford’s Sean Reardon and the University of Illinois at Chicago. NWEA MAP was not included in their research.


Testing Plan of Action:

NWEA MAP’s unique untimed format warrants additional guidance, training, and auditing in order to maintain test integrity. The district will be implementing the OIG’s recommendations to improve test processes prior to the Spring 2020 testing window. 

Key improvements include:

  • Hiring a Test Security Expert: The district has hired a national test security company that will help provide expertise and guidance as we work to improve NWEA test administration and security procedures.
  • Strengthened Testing Policies and Guidelines on Duration and Pauses: CPS updated testing guidance for duration and pauses, which will be included in the administrator, test coordinator, and proctor test guidance documents and training for Spring 2020. 
  • Improved Training: CPS updated our mandatory training module for administrators, test coordinators, and proctors that specifically addresses testing duration, pauses, and other important testing guidelines.
  • Enhanced Monitoring and Auditing Processes: The district will conduct targeted school audits during testing, analyze daily reports to identify unusual test times, and provide additional guidance and support to schools as needed.

Moving forward, we will continue to work with parents, educators, and school leaders to evaluate the full assessment landscape in our schools and determine if opportunities exist to reduce testing time while ensuring educators and parents have access to actionable academic data to support our students.

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