RIT Scores

What is a “RIT” Score?

When a student completes an NWEA MAP assessment, he or she receives a series of RIT scores as a result. So, what is a “RIT” and what do the scores mean?

“RIT” is an abbreviation for “Rausch Unit.” The difficulty and complexity of each MAP assessment question is measured using the RIT scale. A student’s RIT score indicates the level at which the student was answering questions correctly 50% of the time.


Distinguishing Features of RIT Scores:

  • RIT Scores Indicate a Student’s Instructional LevelDesCartes_Sample
    • The student’s RIT score indicates the level at which the student was answering questions correctly 50% of the time. These are the skills that the student should be working on in class right now. DesCartes: A Continuum of Learning match specific skills to RIT scores, so instruction can be planned at an appropriate level for each student.
    • Note: For most MAP users, DesCartes was replaced with the Learning Continuum in 2014. The Learning Continuum works in a similar way but is more interactive and with statements that have been rewritten.


  • The RIT Scale is an Equal Interval scale
    • The RIT scale in consistent, just like a ruler. One inch is always one inch, and one RIT is always one RIT. A student who grows from 165 to 170 shows the same amount of instructional growth as a student who goes from a 280 to 285 — 5 RIT points of growth.
    • Because the RIT score is consistent, it can be used to accurately measure a student’s growth over a period of time.


  • RIT Scores are Completely Independent of Grade Level
    • There are “typical” RIT scores for each grade level, but every student is different. The RIT scale allows for students to be accurately measured regardless of their grade level.
    • If a 3rd grade student earns a 210 on the Reading MAP assessment, and a 8th grader also earns a 210 on the Reading MAP assessment, these two students are at the same instructional level.


Common Questions:

What RIT Scores might I see for my students?

  • As a teacher it is helpful to have a general idea of what RIT scores are typical for Math, Reading, and Language Usage for the grade level of your students.
  • Keep in mind that these scores are averages. You would not want to use these numbers to set goals or expectations for your students, but they provide some perspective about how each student, or the class as a whole, is performing.


What amount of RIT score growth is “normal”?

  • Every student is unique, but we can look at the results from NWEA’s norm study to get an idea for how much RIT growth a student might show over a year.
  • Generally speaking, students starting with a lower RIT score tend to show greater amounts of growth, and students starting with a higher RIT score tend to show less growth. (The most important thing? All students can grow!)
  • NWEA calculates projected growth for individual students based on their grade level and starting RIT score for each subject. These targets can be very useful for goal-setting with students. Projected growth is available on the Student Goal Setting Worksheets and on the Achievement Status and Growth Report.


Material from DesCartes: A Continuum of Learning is provided by courtesy of Northwest Evaluation Association and may not be republished, rewritten, or redistributed. All rights reserved.


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