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August 04, 2015

Table of Contents

Skyward Partners with Certica to Launch Formative Assessment Solution
Discovery Education Announces New Services for STEM Teaching and Learning
Think Through Math Integrates Quantile Benchmark Assessments That Measure Students’ Learning Growth
Gale Collaborates with Google to Channel Content and Technology Directly into Student Workflow and Classroom Learning
SunGard K-12 Education Releases eSchoolPLUS 4.0 Student Information System

Skyward Partners with Certica to Launch Formative Assessment Solution

Skyward, a K-12 school administrative software provider, and Certica Solutions, Inc., a provider of K-12 data management and education content solutions, have announced a partnership to support the creation and sharing of online assessments through Skyward’s Test Bank Management Solution.

At the center of this platform is Certica’s Formative Assessment Item Bank (FAIB), which features over 80,000 items, including more than 50,000 Common Core-aligned Math and English Language Arts selections. The items in the FAIB can be used by teachers and district staff to help students practice for the next generation assessments. In addition to the Common Core, the items are aligned to state standards and can be used to meet districts’ established curriculum goals.

One of the key benefits of the new formative assessment solution is that it integrates with existing tools in Skyward’s Student Management Suite to automate the process of recording assessment scores and sharing them with parents. The integration also allows higher level planning and alignment throughout the district, as administrators can design standardized interim assessments to be delivered to all applicable students.

Updated twice a year, the FAIB is developed using a rigorous process that includes multiple rounds of review to help ensure that the items adhere to best practices, are grade appropriate, are free of potential bias and sensitivity concerns, and follow the principles of universal design.

The FAIB is optional and available to Skyward users for an additional fee.

Source: Skyward, skyward.com

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Discovery Education Announces New Services for STEM Teaching and Learning

Discovery Education has announced the availability of three new services designed to help school systems nationwide grow capacity for STEM teaching and learning. Produced and delivered by Discovery Education’s team of nationally recognized STEM and professional development experts, these new resources support school systems in building and sustaining a culture of STEM education through a combination of immersive professional development initiatives, job-embedded instructional coaching, rich digital content, and extensive community engagement.

The new services now available are:

  • STEM Foundations. Designed to grow educators’ and administrators’ core expertise in STEM instruction and leadership, STEM Foundations empowers participating school systems to build a custom combination of full-day professional development opportunities, job-embedded coaching, support in building community engagement and awareness, and more to create a unique STEM capacity building initiative.

  • STEMformation. A comprehensive, three year-system for building a culture of STEM at individual school sites, STEMformation guides educators as they master STEM instructional strategies. With a focus on developing high quality STEM lessons, creating transdisciplinary lessons and units, and vertically aligning STEM education school wide, STEMformation provides the robust professional development, job embedded coaching, and administrative leadership to create a center of STEM excellence.

  • STEM Leader Corps. A four-year system for scaling STEM education district wide, STEM Leader Corp is a sustainable capacity building model that develops and nurtures teachers and administrators as they build a culture of STEM teaching and learning in their school system. Through a shared leadership model, robust professional development, ongoing coaching, and administrative leadership support, participating districts will develop a transdisciplinary curriculum that prepares students for success beyond the classroom.

The launch of these new capacity building services is part of Discovery Education’s continued commitment to supporting STEM education. For over a decade, Discovery Education has provided school systems worldwide the professional development, digital services, project-based learning opportunities, and other initiatives needed to build the engaging STEM learning environments that encourage students to solve real-world problems while improving academic achievement.

Discovery Education’s Science and Math Techbooks also support educators as they transform STEM teaching and learning by utilizing an inquiry-based model of instruction which guides students in supporting claims through evidence, fact-backed reasoning and arguments. Additional resources available from Discovery Education to support STEM include Discovery Education STEM Camp, a dynamic series of standards-aligned STEM curricula available at no cost to schools, districts, non-profit organizations and parents; the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, the nation’s premier science competition for grades 5-8; and Support our Science (S.O.S.), a multi-year effort launched in partnership with Science Channel to empower educators with the resources necessary to create digital learning environments that spark and grow students’ curiosity in STEM.

For more information on Discovery Education’s STEM services and initiatives, visit discoveryeducation.com/STEM.

Source: Discovery Education, discoveryeducation.com

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Think Through Math Integrates Quantile Benchmark Assessments That Measure Students’ Learning Growth

Think Through Learning, creator of Think Through Math (TTM), has announced that it has incorporated high quality benchmark assessments within TTM. The benchmarks use the Quantile Framework for Mathematics from MetaMetrics to provide an objective measure of each student’s ability level and readiness to learn new math skills and concepts. The benchmarks can be used in place of expensive third party assessments and are included free in the price of TTM. Seamlessly integrated into the flow of TTM lessons, they are easy to use and they eliminate the time consuming and cumbersome process of importing testing data from other systems. The embedded benchmarks accurately measure each student’s learning gain across the school year, and can be viewed by educators on their class, school and district level TTM dashboards.

MetaMetrics' Quantile Framework for Mathematics is a scientific scale that measures a student’s math achievement level and indicates which topics a student is ready to learn next. Teachers can quickly determine if students are on track to pass year-end assessments, and alter their learning trajectories if need be. Teachers can either customize a lesson path precisely tailored to a student’s Quantile ability level or let the TTM adaptive system automatically serve up the right next lesson, whichever they prefer.

For more information on Think Through Math, visit thinkthroughmath.com

Source: Think Through Learning, thinkthroughlearning.com

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Gale Collaborates with Google to Channel Content and Technology Directly into Student Workflow and Classroom Learning

Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, has announced its certified status as a Google for Education Partner, and the integration of Google tools into Gale products. Users are now able to seamlessly login to their school or library’s Gale In Context resource using Google Account credentials and to easily download, save and share articles using Google Apps for Education including Drive and Docs. With more than 40 million Google Apps for Education users worldwide, the partnership offers tremendous potential to improve student learning.

As a Google for Education Partner, Gale uses the most current and popular Google tools to support students as they develop key study and organizational skills. By integrating leading resources into its platforms – such as Google Apps for Education, a free suite of tools that includes Gmail, Classroom, Drive, Docs, and more – Gale helps educators improve student engagement, encourage collaboration and foster critical thinking—from anywhere and on any device. Once logged in as a Google user to a Gale In Context resource, users can download, save and share content—including any highlights or notes they’ve added to documents within the product. In addition, Gale is one of only 15 partners to pilot Google’s newly announced Classroom share button which allows teachers and students to easily share content from third party websites to assignments and announcements in Google Classroom. The Classroom share button will be available within In Context products this summer, and allows educators to seamlessly link Gale content to classroom assignments.

Chrome Web Store and Google Apps for Education apps are now also available for free download, which provides another path for users into the resources provided by their subscribing institution. Apps are available for the entire Gale In Context suite, which includes subject-specific and cross-curricular resources like Biography, Opposing Viewpoints, Science, U.S. History, World History, as well as Student Resources in Context. To improve student productivity, increase engagement and foster collaboration among all of its users, Gale will roll out similar apps, authentication and tools for other product families this fall, including Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), InfoTrac, Kids InfoBits and more.

For more information on Gale’s Google Apps for Education and integration with In Context, visit http://blog.gale.com/google-incontext/.

Source: Cengage Learning and Gale, cengage.com or gale.cengage.com

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SunGard K-12 Education Releases eSchoolPLUS 4.0 Student Information System

SunGard K-12 Education has announced the release of eSchoolPLUS 4.0 student information system. eSchoolPLUS 4.0 is a forward-thinking solution for student information management that helps educators directly and positively impact student achievement, according to the announcement. This release amplifies SunGard K-12 Education’s student information system with a smart user interface and a variety of features that promote collaboration.

With HTML5 as its core technology, eSchoolPLUS 4.0 offers the same application and user experience across any browser and choice of PC, Mac, Chromebook notebook computer, and iPad or other tablet. eSchoolPLUS 4.0 offers features including responsive design, advanced navigation tools, and mobile-first design concepts, such as tablet-friendly icons and pages and gesture-friendly screens.

This solution also provides advanced tools and at-a-glance insights that promote collaboration between administrators, teachers, parents, and students. Highly customizable smart search functionality throughout the software puts ad-hoc reporting capabilities at the fingertips of educators. And, with SunGard K-12’s hallmark PLUS 360 Notifications, eSchoolPLUS 4.0 mines student data to help increase user efficiency by allowing educational stakeholders to choose to be automatically alerted when certain events occur or criteria are met.

Source: SunGard K-12 Education, sungardk12.com

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