Duluth, Ga. — September 6, 2007 — Curriculum Advantage, Inc. is launching a new elementary school science program–Classworks Science–at a time when concerns about American students? science proficiency are rising. Results from a recent assessment ranked U.S. secondary students 24th out of 29 countries against their foreign counterparts in math and science competence, a trend that continues to alarm educators and U.S. policy makers.
Curriculum Advantage has been hearing from its customers–school superintendents and principals–that there is a critical need for science instructional software, especially since schools? Adequate Yearly Progress ratings will include science for the first time this year. The new product, designed for third- through fifth-graders, is becoming available just as schools are facing new No Child Left Behind testing requirements in science. Classworks? middle school and high school science products are currently under development.
?Teaching science is a unique challenge because science is content based–not skill based–and science vocabulary is technical,? said Cathy Sump, Curriculum Advantage?s Director of Product Marketing. ?Time spent on science is often short-changed, as more of the school day is spent focusing on math and reading. Also, the chronic shortage of elementary science teachers makes teaching science in elementary schools that much more difficult.?
While there are some science software resources currently available on the market, they do not integrate well or track student progress. Classworks Science will offer scored activities, in-depth mini-lessons, solid instruction and quizzes.
?We are very excited about the release of the new Classworks elementary science product. Curriculum Advantage is striving to expand its product offerings to meet the changing educational needs of school districts in this era of data-driven instruction,? said Lindsey Cook, the president and CEO of Curriculum Advantage. ?Elementary science is particularly exciting in that it will help teachers and students achieve their goals in science instruction and provide a sound foundation for students to build upon in middle school.?
Curriculum Advantage partnered with Six Red Marbles–a leader in the instructional design field–to develop Classworks Science. Additionally, Ken French, a consultant for the National Science Teachers? Association (NSTA) and a science manager for several prominent textbook publishers, assisted in the initial stage of Classworks Science?s development. His effort on Classworks Science comes on the heels of work for publishers such as Holt, Rinehart & Winston, McGraw-Hill-Glencoe, and Prentice-Hall.
Additionally, Classworks Science benefits from the deep research that went into its development, as well as the review of current science instruction and standards, which formed the basis for the scope and sequence. The review included: Major textbook lines; NSTA Science Standards; state science standards; National Assessment of Educational Progress Science Standards; and science instructional software.
Sump, Classworks Science?s project manager, is a former elementary science teacher. She ensured that meeting the needs of students in the classroom was always at the forefront of the development. ?As a teacher, I would have loved a product such as Classworks Science,? Sump said. ?The instruction, the scored activities and quizzes will help teachers and students alike, which is key, especially when the demands for accountability are so great.?
The new Classworks Science product will also use the Lexile Framework to provide a common, developmental scale to match students? reading abilities with the reading levels of the science instruction. By using the Lexile scale, time spent on the computer will be more effective because students will understand more of what they read.
There is a definite concern regarding U.S. students? standing in the world when it comes to science. Eighty-two percent of our nation?s 12th graders performed below the proficient level on the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress science test. By presenting science to elementary school students in an engaging and informative manner, Classworks Science can help turn that trend around.
Studies have shown that U.S. students don?t start out at the bottom, but the longer students stay in the current system, the worse they do. According to the 1995 Third International Mathematics and Science Study, U.S. fourth graders ranked second. By 12th grade, they fell to 16th, behind nearly every industrialized rival and ahead of only Cyprus and South Africa. In 2005, the Program for International Student Assessment ranked U.S. students 24th out of 29 countries in science.
By targeting third- through fifth-grade students, Classworks Science can help establish a base of science knowledge that students will be able to build upon as they progress through middle school and beyond.
Classworks (www.classworks.com), a leader in computer-based student instruction in K-12 for English/Language Arts, Reading and Mathematics, is designed for on-grade level and remediation instruction in individual, small group and whole class settings. Classworks was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of only a handful of computer-assisted instruction programs to demonstrate that it improves student achievement, and has earned several software industry honors.
About Curriculum Advantage
Curriculum Advantage, Inc. (www.curriculumadvantage.com) is based in Duluth, Ga. Curriculum Advantage?s flagship product is Classworks, a network-based system of K-12 reading and mathematics curriculum and learning tools that currently comprise over 5,000 hours of curriculum. Its activities are correlated to national and state learning standards and state tests, and include prescriptive and summative assessment, remediation and reporting tools. Classworks Language Learner Series, another part of the program, addresses English as a Second Language learning with content that focuses on auditory, visual and tactile/kinesthetic components.