Thomson Gale has announced the launch of ClassTrac, a Web-enabled service that delivers relevant and timely content aligned to state standards and correlated to adopted textbooks. ClassTrac is intended to leverage schools' investment in instructional materials, and will extend the life of textbooks by integrating real world current events within the context of learning, the announcement states.
Schools need to solve a fundamental problem in the accountability movement: the gaps between what is taught and what is tested. Often, according to Thomson Gale, textbooks and other materials in the K-12 education system are out of date by the time they arrive in schools.
"ClassTrac fills the gap in existing curriculum by engaging students with interactive exercises, self-assessment, and multimedia tools," said Ben Mondloch, Executive Vice President, K-12 Markets for Thomson Gale. "This digital resource was created to supplement the static nature of existing textbooks with timely and current content while enabling cost savings by extending the life of textbooks."
ClassTrac has already proved its value through a pilot program in the state of Texas, according to the announcement. The Texas Education Agency was concerned with student achievement on the high-stakes statewide test, TAKS, acknowledging that the state's middle school social studies and high school biology textbooks did not provide adequate coverage of rapidly changing areas of the curriculum. ClassTrac was adopted by the state to offer students access to current events content and materials.
According to a survey of the Texas pilot teachers:
* 84% said that ClassTrac had a moderate to major impact on student's preparedness for the TAKS exam
* 89% said that ClassTrac had a moderate to major impact on students' engagement in learning
* 88% said ClassTrac had a moderate to major impact on students' basic understanding of concepts addressed
ClassTrac is now available, with numerous schools already using the product. The first release covers high school science in the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, and earth sciences. Schools subscribing to ClassTrac receive thorough product training to ensure effective implementation of the program. Training may be delivered online or onsite, depending on what schools prefer. On a monthly basis, ClassTrac "Webinars" deliver supplemental instruction to virtual user groups representing a wide array of schools and districts. This setting encourages teachers to share individual best practices in using ClassTrac in their school, according to Thomson Gale. Participating schools receive usage statistics for participating campuses, enabling teachers and administrators to track in-school and home usage.
Information about ClassTrac can be accessed through http://www.galeschools.com/ClassTrac.
Source: The Thomson Corporation;http://thomsonlearning.com; http://www.galeschools.com