Assessment/placement options in Imagine Math


The following article applies to all Imagine Math users, both PreK-2 and 3+.

Organizations using Imagine Math have two assessment options for their students:

  • Imagine Math Embedded Benchmarks (default)
  • NWEA™ MAP® Growth Assessments

District Administrators should decide on one of these options in collaboration with their Customer Success Manager as they plan their initial implementation of Imagine Math. An assessment is required for students to be placed in their appropriate pathway in the Imagine Math curriculum or to have their pathway adjusted at least one time per year. However, Imagine Learning strongly recommends administering assessments three times a year so you can measure student growth as the year progresses.


The recommended implementation is to choose one assessment provider for the entire district. In some select cases, districts opt to use different assessment providers for different grade levels or different buildings based on district/school initiatives and needs. This cannot be done on a student-by-student basis. Clarify the details of your assessment needs with your Customer Success Manager during the rostering/implementation process. 

Imagine Math Embedded Assessments

Description Additional Information Recommended for:

The Imagine Math Embedded Benchmark is the default assessment if NWEA is not specifically requested.

The Benchmark is an adaptive assessment that determines student proficiency in key skill areas. Students in the same grade level can receive different questions based on their performance. 

Students will automatically take Benchmark 1 the first time they log in to Imagine Math; this assigns students their appropriate pathway in the program. After Benchmark 1, Benchmarks 2 and 3 may be administered later in the year. Imagine Learning recommends waiting at least 90 days between Benchmarks to allow time for students to demonstrate growth; educators enable Benchmarks 2 and 3 at the time of their choosing.

The Benchmark provides a Quantile® measure for each student, as defined by MetaMetametrics' Quantile Framework. 

  • Organizations with primarily PreK-2 students. 
  • Users who want the test to match the student experience of the program. In PreK-2,  the Benchmark does not look and feel like a test.
  • Users who do not want to implement a formal, proctored assessment. 
  • Organizations with many students coming in throughout the year because the tests are always available.


NWEA™ MAP® Growth Assessments

Description Additional Information Recommended for:
The NWEA MAP Growth Assessment is a computer-adaptive third-party assessment that measures what the students know, how they are growing academically, and what they are ready to learn next. Students in the same grade level can receive different questions based on their performance.


NWEA MAP is not available for PreK students; if your organization elects to use NWEA, PreK students will receive Embedded Benchmark 1 instead. 

Students take the NWEA MAP Growth Assessments by logging in to NWEA; the scores are sent to Imagine Learning via an overnight sync process. The scores determine students' pathway(s) and remediation. For Imagine Math 3+ users, districts must choose between three different pathway configuration options at the time of their initial NWEA implementation.

The NWEA MAP Growth Assessment provides a Rasch UnIT (RIT) score for each student, which measures their level of achievement and reflects their instructional level. A RIT score indicates the level at which a student answers questions correctly 50% of the time, thus identifying topics each student is ready to learn.

Students' RIT scores are available on the NWEA portal. A link to this portal is provided in the Benchmark section of the Imagine Math educator dashboard.


NWEA and MetaMetrics partnered to develop a Quantile measure and range from the MAP RIT scale. The Quantile range is a 100-point range. The student's Quantile measure is 50 points from the low end of the range and 50 points from the high end. For example, if a student's Quantile range is 250-350, their Quantile measure is 300. Educators must log in to the NWEA portal to view Quantile information for NWEA students, as it does not display within Imagine Math for NWEA users.

The NWEA testing windows are up to three times a year; the schedule is determined by your organization. 

  • Organizations that are already using NWEA in their school or district, so that students don't have to take an additional assessment.
  • Organizations already rostering through an automatic nightly sync (Clever, ClassLink, SFTP); this sync is required in order for Imagine Learning to utilize the score to determine student pathway(s). 
  • Organizations willing to look at data in two places  - the NWEA portal for assessment scores and growth between assessments, and the Imagine Math portal for usage and progress data.
  • Imagine Math 3+ users who want more auto-assigned pathways than what is provided by the Embedded Benchmark.