Newtown, Pa.-Aug. 23, 2006-Today Vantage Learning
( announced that schools and districts in Mississippi are using the just-released new version of the Student Progress Monitoring System (SPMST) for reading, math, writing, science, and social studies testing. Available for immediate use, this Web-based formative assessment and progress monitoring system is specially customized for the Mississippi Department of Education by Vantage, with more than 40,000 assessment items specifically aligned to Mississippi state standards.

The SPMS incorporates the Vantage Learning PlatformT, an integrated set of tools for the development and delivery of assessment information, and IntellimetricT, the world’s first automated scoring system that instantly grades student writing with accuracy that equals or exceeds that of expert human scoring. The SPMS application, on top of the core technology platform, delivers a flexible, dynamic tool that helps teachers create, administer, score, and report student assessments, and works across grade levels to provide immediate, individualized diagnostic feedback for all students.

“The SPMS helps us closely monitor student progress with non-anecdotal data about their learning needs and accomplishments,” says Lucy Keen, executive director of school district assessment, technical support for school improvement, curriculum, and professional development, Meridian Public School District. “With Vantage’s classroom-tested technology supporting them, Mississippi educators can easily track students’ mastery of objectives, and adjust their lessons to best serve a student’s needs. Such individual feedback and attention makes the Vantage-enhanced SPMS a huge boon for our state’s school systems by raising our state standards.”

The SPMS has always been accessible and easy-to-use-so much so, in fact, that over 400,000 Mississippi students were able to use the system and complete the state tests last year, even though they endured a significant interruption in their school year as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The newest version of SPMS boasts a number of helpful enhancements, including:

* Performance assessment tracking that compiles results from external subject tests-such as Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy
Skills (DIBELST), Mississippi Curriculum Tests (MCT), and Subject Area Testing Program (SATP) state practice tests-into a single, easily
accessible student portfolio.

* AnswerworksT, Vantage’s proprietary search technology that finds better answers faster, by using the program’s natural language understanding to improve search results and increase their relevance.

* 3-in-1 bubble sheets that accommodate Mississippi’s continued use of paper-and-pencil tests (as opposed to pure online testing), by
combining several different paper-and-pencil tests on one sheet to reduce paper costs.

* Practice Mississippi Curriculum Tests and Science Subject Tests that expose students to the format and style of the state tests, and helps
them better prepare for the real event.

* Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction (CAI) training and other specialized curriculum modules available to teachers to enhance their professional development. One highlight is the Resources/Tools module, where educators can search for, create, and share teaching resources such as lesson plans, learning activities, templates, and forms.

* A new nomination process for educators’ created assessment items, whereby teachers can open up their own items for review, discussion, and approval by the Mississippi Department of Education, and ensure high-quality, meaningful additions to the SPMS assessment bank.

“We are extremely satisfied at the state level with the impressive improvements Vantage has made to SPMS,” says Dr. Kris Kaase, associate state superintendent, Office of Academic Education. “The schools are happy with it too, as evidenced by a 70-percent adoption growth rate among districts in the past year alone. By aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment, the Vantage customization makes the SPMS an increasingly valuable tool for meeting the educational needs of all our students.”

For more information regarding Vantage Learning or their partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education, please contact Harry Barfoot at 215-756-1125 or

About Vantage Learning

With over 146 million online test transactions last year, Vantage Learning is the world’s leading provider of online assessment and automated essay scoring. Recognized as the gold standard for scoring quality, consistency, reliability, and scalability, Vantage Learning’s award-winning education tools meet the needs of educators and school administrators, businesses and government agencies that need a comprehensive Internet-based test authoring, delivery, scoring, and reporting platform. Vantage developed IntelliMetricT, which
administers and scores responses to open-ended questions over the Internet using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Vantage Learning’s MY Access!® instructional writing program won a Codie Award in 2006 for Best Instructional Program: English/Language Arts–Secondary, was a Codie Awards dual winner in 2005, and was a 2004 Award of Excellence winner from Technology and Learning Magazine. Eduventures selected Vantage Learning as one of the eight most
innovative educational technology companies.

Vantage Learning provides services across a broad spectrum of clients. The College Board, ACT, and the Graduate Management Admission Council®
(GMAC®), all utilize Vantage technologies for college readiness and admissions. Oregon, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia leverage the
Vantage Learning PlatformT, the Student Progress Monitoring SystemT, and the Uniform Online Testing SystemT for formative, summative, and computer adaptive assessments that drive instructional programs. Respected publishers like Hampton-Brown offer customized versions to support assessment linked to their proprietary content. School
districts such as Los Angeles Unified School District, Red Clay DE, Milwaukee Public Schools, Newark Public Schools, and many other respected districts integrate MY Access! into their core language arts curriculum. Learn more at

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