DesCartes: A Continuum of Learning – For the Teachers
DesCartes: A Continuum of Learning was provided by Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) as part of their MAP assessment system. A similar tool, Primary Grades Instructional Data, was provided for those using the MAP for Primary Grades assessment.
For most MAP assessment users, DesCartes was replaced by the Learning Continuum in 2014.



  • Makes connections between specific skills and RIT scores to identify what students are ready to learn and to guide instructional planning.
  • Is structured by goal areas (such as Literature for Reading and Geometry for Math) which are organized based on state or Common Core standards.

Each column in DesCartes includes the skills within a block of 10 RIT points. If a student has a RIT score of 205, then the skills within the 201-210 block are the skills that student is ready to work on in class right now.

– More Information –


DesCartes can be used for:

  • Planning small group instruction, including flexible grouping
  • Goal setting
  • Creating centers, homework, or other assignments based on skills needed for each student
  • Providing students, parents, and aides with specific skill sets for a student to focus on


To Access DesCartes:

  • Go to the NWEA reports website where you access your students’ MAP scores
  • Log in using the User Name and Password provided by your administrator
  • Look under the section for “Instructional Resources”


View DesCartes for a Student or Group of Students:

* DesCartes can be accessed directly from the students’ RIT score reports, making it even easier to match skills to students and to organize flexible grouping and differentiated assignments.

  • Open report Class Breakdown by RIT
  • Choose the Term (i.e. “Fall 2013”). Click “Submit
  • Scroll down to view the chart. Click on Math, Reading, Language Usage, or Science to see the goal areas
  • For each goal area desired, click on a student’s name to view DesCartes skills for that individual student -OR- Click on “All Students in Cell” to view DesCartes for the group of students – useful for flexible grouping


Additional Resources:

(Available after logging into NWEA’s Report site)




Material from the Learning Continuum is provided by courtesy of NWEA and may not be republished, rewritten, or redistributed. All rights reserved.
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.

DesCartes: A Continuum of Learning
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12 thoughts on “DesCartes: A Continuum of Learning

  • August 1, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Are there any plans to provide lessons and activities that are correlated to NWEA’s Learning Continuum (now that Des Cartes has been replaced by it)? Thank you!

    • August 9, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      There are plans to add new lesson plans based on the Learning Continuum, most likely starting later this fall. Thanks!

  • January 26, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Have you released the plans and activities that supports the Learning Continuum?Lit

    • January 27, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Not yet. I’m hoping to have new plans this year, but I don’t yet know when.

  • November 11, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Have you released the plans/activities that helps give teachers lessons in embedding the learning continuum.

    • November 13, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Not yet, but I’m hoping to have some ready this winter.

      • November 14, 2016 at 7:15 am

        That would be awesome! I’m a MAP trainer… I love your site and recommend it at every MAP training session I that conduct. It would be even MORE valuable if there were lessons and activities correlated to the learning continuum.

  • November 30, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Great! We love using the Learning Continuum to help form small groups . Moreover, we are looking forward to implementing the upcoming lessons and activities to help give more support to our teachers in working with students during Literacy and Math Small Group Instruction. Will you contact me when the lessons and activities become available st

    Thank you!!!!

  • August 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Hi there……did the lessons based on RIT scores roll out in the Learning Continuim yet ? Thanks !

    • August 30, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      They are currently being put together and will be posted throughout the fall.

  • December 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Hi. Does the lesson and activities correlated to the learning continuum up yet?


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