Harcourt Assessment Launches Enhanced Version of Early Childhood Observation System

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New version now includes Pre-K and customized benchmarks.

Leading test developer and publisher Harcourt Assessment today announced the publication of an enhanced version of the Early Childhood Observation System (ECHOS™), a 2006 Technology and Learning Award of Excellence Winner. The new version now adds two exciting features: progress monitoring for students in pre-kindergarten in addition to students in Grades 1 and 2, and the ability to add customized benchmarks to match classroom curriculum or state standards. ECHOS™ is a continuous observational assessment system integrated as part of the classroom environment that provides a clear and accurate reflection of each child's ability and development so that teachers can guide instruction and early learning success. The updated version of ECHOS™ also includes the ability for administrators to add customized benchmarks to match classroom curriculum or state standards. This will enable them to individualize the benchmarks that may be unique to their program, school or district curriculum in order to assess how their students' are progressing toward these specific standards.

"Understanding a student's level of school readiness at an early age is key to providing the targeted instruction necessary to ensure that student's future success," said Harcourt Assessment Publisher Dr. Aurelio Prifitera. "With ECHOS™ now available for the Pre-K level, teachers can monitor a child's progress to school readiness quickly and conveniently and make changes to instruction and activities to best meet the student's needs."

ECHOS™ is a continuous observational assessment system for pre-kindergarten through grade two students. ECHOS™ consists of age-based or grade-based benchmarks in seven domains based on the guidelines and standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and other national organizations. It provides specific observational criteria so teachers are able to indicate how each student is progressing toward national and state standards and toward meeting grade-level expectations, while providing suggested classroom and home activities to support learning. Features of the system include observational benchmarks of educationally and developmentally appropriate skills, ecological classroom assessment, parent reports, web-based reporting and professional development for teachers. Web-based software is accessed on a PC for data entry and comprehensive, immediate reporting. Software can also be installed on a Palm® handheld device for efficient administration in today's dynamic classrooms.

For more information on ECHOS™, please visit http://www.echosonline.com.

About Harcourt Assessment, Inc.
Based in San Antonio, Harcourt Assessment, Inc. is a leading provider of high-quality assessment instruments and testing programs published under two brand names -- Harcourt Assessment and PsychCorp™. For more than 85 years, Harcourt Assessment has been providing insight about children and adults; informing instruction, curricula and clinical practice; collaborating with educators and clinical professionals; assisting human resources, admissions and credential professionals; and creating assessment innovations, in order to provide the most effective assessment solutions for the success of all individuals.

The company is a unit of Harcourt Education, a global education provider serving students and teachers in PreK through grade 12, adult learners, and readers of all ages. Harcourt Education is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc. (http://www.reedelsevier.com), a world-leading publisher and information provider. It is owned equally by Reed Elsevier PLC (NYSE: RUK) and Reed Elsevier NV (NYSE: ENL).

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Russell Schweiss
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