Assessment and data management

Advanced Academics, a provider of eLearning solutions for middle and high school markets, premiered its ROADS online learning platform at NECC. The ROADS platform is designed for optimized “whiteboarding,” threaded discussions, audio and visual communications, and proprietary eMail so districts need not rely on an external eMail system. The “student locker” offers storage for learning materials, and gives students the ability to make notes and refer to it in the future. ROADS also offers easier navigation tools for review of the online content, the company said. Plus, student and course management components allow teachers and administrators to drill down to the minutiae of the content for a better understanding of student learning and performance.

Edustructures LLC, developer of software infrastructure solutions for K-12 learning environments, featured its SIFWorks Integration Platform, which the company says is built to support all versions of the Schools Interoperability Framework standard. Edustructures says the software streamlines the administration of K-12 schools by allowing applications such as food service, library, transportation, and network and student information to share data automatically and securely. The sharing of this information decreases the amount of time spent on data entry, resulting in better information and analysis, according to the company. SIFWorks permits student enrollment to be carried out in one data entry step, taking an average of four minutes to complete. Without the software, the company says, the same enrollment could require 10 data entry steps at 10 times the time commitment. Different data agencies around the district share data through XML-based messages and events over standard internet protocols. A data entry into one application triggers the immediate sharing of that application with other applications and automates tasks such as generation and publication of a student’s eMail address or the creation of library cards and lunch passes.

FileMaker Inc., a provider of database solutions, discussed the latest release of FileMaker Pro 8.5. The company says new features like its web viewer places the database in a browser format, making it easier to assemble needed information on demand and to users, thus enabling them to link data records to web pages. A “link once and forget it” feature makes it easy for users to keep web records on students and personnel up to date for administrators and emergency personnel. The latest version of the software is Mac-compatible, making the database universally available for the first time, according to the company. Another product, called the FileMaker Learning Center, is a professional development tool that allows users to learn the database’s functionality at their own pace. FileMaker is now available in nine languages.

K12 Systems Inc. displayed its Sapphire Software Student Information System, a web-based system that integrates components such as a teacher gradebook, classroom management system, parent web portal, lesson planner, and master schedule builder into a single solution with a consistent user interface, with all components sharing a centralized database.

MAXIMUS Inc. demonstrated its SchoolMAX Enterprise software, which the company says provides online access to district information for all stakeholders. Teachers can insert grades and student comments and even take attendance through the interactive system. The product is modeled after a traditional gradebook, making it easy for teachers to engage the system, according to the company. Principals can use the system to analyze student data, pull reports, and keep track of their schools’ reporting and results. Using SchoolMAX, the company says, principals can instantly see what changes should be made to ensure their schools achieve their academic goals. What’s more, school technology directors can configure the tool to meet their districts’ needs and can integrate the system with legacy applications. District superintendents can use the SchoolMAX system to access student information and measure student results in real time. The product also offers reports that help superintendents make decisions to drive financial improvements and boost communication with parents, the company said.

MAXIMUS also demonstrated AssetMAXX, a capital asset and property management system. AssetMAXX reportedly incorporates all necessary capital asset tracking and reporting tools into one web-based solution. It also allows for the tracking of property for insurance purposes, the company said. The data are housed on MAXIMUS’ secure hardware at the company’s data center. MAXIMUS handles the day-to-day maintenance of the system and database administration responsibilities that otherwise would be left to an organization’s IT department. The idea, according to the company, is to remove the need for users to purchase internal servers; instead, MAXIMUS permits officials to access the materials online.

Pearson Education announced the addition of a complete suite of diagnostic assessments to its PASeries Reading product. Part of the company’s PASeries formative assessment line, PASeries Reading is designed to measure reading progress throughout the school year and to forecast growth for students in grades 3-8. The enhancement will allow teachers to identify student reading strengths and areas for improvement. PASeries Reading uses the industry-standard scientific Lexile Framework for Reading. The product now includes progress and diagnostic tests and focuses on overall ability as well as specific skills in reading. Reading diagnostic tests will cover comprehension, literary analysis and vocabulary, or–for lower grades–vocabulary and phonics. The new diagnostic assessments will be provided to current PASeries Reading customers at no additional charge beginning in August. PASeries is distributed to states and districts by Pearson Educational Measurement and Pearson Assessments.

Pearson Prentice Hall displayed Success Tracker, an online formative assessment and remediation management system that allows teachers to provide personalized remediation for each student, as well as providing access to disaggregated data analysis of student performance. Success Tracker assessment is aligned to Pearson textbook content and to state standards.

Scantron Corp. introduced upgrades to its Achievement Series and Performance Series formative and diagnostic assessment solutions for K-12 schools.

The newly updated Achievement Series solution is a content-neutral, flexible testing platform that educators can use to develop and administer online and paper tests. It features a new item editor that makes item entry quicker and easier than before, the company said. The web-based item editor permits educators to enter item content, properties, standards, and passages all on one screen. When adding items, users can choose to duplicate certain properties or standards to the next item, thus reducing the need to enter it again. In addition, the item editor includes a new equation editor that allows educators to create complex math equations in Achievement Series, eliminating the need to create math equations in a different application and then copy them into the program. Performance Series is a web-based, computer-adaptive test that educators can use as a diagnostic for student placement and to report on progress. The new version features the addition of a year-to-year student report to allow school districts to track student growth and trends and use the data to inform instructional decisions. With the new report, educators can display results data from every test a student has taken in the selected subject, all in one location. If a student has taken a test for several years, Scantron says, educators can, for example, get a good idea of how the student’s scores are trending and predict a range of scores for future tests.

SchoolNet Inc. announced the release of SchoolNet 7.0. The new version of the instructional management system features role-specific portal views, including personalized home pages with access to relevant reports and tools. SchoolNew 7.0 focuses specifically on the role of administrators, principals, teachers, and parents.

Teacher’s PAL showcased InstructiON, an instructional management system that includes curriculum management, mastery assessment, gradebook integration, lesson planning, and performance reporting. Educators can view a weekly calendar of scheduled activities, manage lesson plans and assignments for each class, and assign grades and assess student mastery of standards.

VIP Tone Inc. announced its acquisition of Learning Technology System, developers of the process-based instructional management information system IMSeries. VIP Tone added IMSeries to its School MATRIX Platform, which integrates a Student Information System with the management of standards and local curricula, lesson planning, assessments, case management, and other functions.

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