High-Achieving Suburban Milwaukee School District Puts Assessment Data at Teachers' Fingertips

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Pearson Benchmark Allows Teachers to Develop and Administer Tests, Analyze Results, Individualize Instruction

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effectively and efficiently identifying students who need interventions - when they need them rather than when we're finally getting through the data four months later.

At Greendale School District, located in a small suburban community 11 miles southwest of Milwaukee, student academic achievement is high. But staying ahead of the curve requires staying on top of student data, which has been a labor-intensive and increasingly difficult endeavor for Greendale's teachers and administrators. Now with the recent adoption of Pearson Benchmark™, this district of 2,600 students and five schools is successfully managing data in a whole new way.

"We were struggling to pull together and condense data," said Kim Amidzich, the district's director of Assessment and Learning. In this district growing in diversity - with 21 languages spoken - teachers were in need of data to help better address individual student learning needs."

"We have interventions in place, but we needed more frequent data checks in a way that would make it easier to manage and manipulate them," said Amidzich.

Pearson Benchmark is a comprehensive, customizable, Web-based district-level formative assessment testing system and reporting tool that enables districts to measure, manage and maximize student achievement through testing, reporting and analytics. With the ability to gather student performance results collected over time, teachers and administrators can readily monitor student progress, address deficiencies and recheck mastery - by class, course, grade level, school or even various demographics. The result is more targeted instruction, shorter assessment cycles and enhanced student performance.

Pearson Benchmark is one of the Education Assessment group's complementary assessment products designed to offer schools, districts and states the flexibility and functionality to meet their unique needs. Pearson's assessment products range from engines for creating and delivering benchmark tests to research-based items and pre-built tests for screening, progress and diagnostic uses, available on paper or online.

"It is exciting to see a high-achieving district like Greendale understand the way that Pearson Benchmark can help teachers move their students to the next level of success," said Douglas Kubach, president and CEO, Assessment and Information, Pearson. "We look forward to hearing about the innovative ways that district educators use data to shape instruction, and to working with them to ensure that all students achieve in school and in life."

Greendale is a district with a long record of success and continues to rank in the top tier for public and private schools in the Milwaukee suburban area - an area known across the nation for high-achieving schools. More than 90 percent of its graduates each year enroll in higher education - a key factor in building a good life in the future.

Over the past six years, Greendale administrators and teachers have been developing assessments across the curriculum. "Benchmark lets us use assessments we had already compiled, which is one of the reasons we chose it," said Amidzich. "This is the tool our teachers needed."

Previously, core teacher leaders were at the forefront of data collection, she said, "crunching the data by hand, which was not as reliable as they would have liked. They're looking forward to being able to commit less time to crunching numbers, and more time to analyzing the data to inform their work with students."

Administrators, too, are eager to see the comprehensive data they'll receive from Pearson Benchmark.

"At Greendale School District, our main focus is academic achievement for our students," said William H. Hughes, Ph.D., superintendent. "We are excited about the ways that the data from Pearson Benchmark will help our teachers to quickly and effectively intervene where necessary and take our record of success to the next level."

With assessment data now at teachers' and administrators' fingertips, Amidzich foresees the district's students reaching even higher levels of success. "Teachers will know what they need to teach so they can give students a common experience in each course and grade level," she said. In addition, she looks forward to "effectively and efficiently identifying students who need interventions - when they need them rather than when we're finally getting through the data four months later."

As for the students, the transition to Pearson Benchmark has been seamless. They are about to take their first test that will be analyzed using Pearson Benchmark, but to them, it'll be just another assessment.

"We continually look for best practices, and we aren't making a production out of this for the students. They'll see the difference when we use the assessment data to individualize instruction," said Amidzich.

More information about Pearson Benchmark is available at http://www.formativeassessments.com/benchmark/index.htm.

About Greendale School District:
Situated in the southwest metro area of Milwaukee, Greendale School District prides itself in providing an excellent education for all of its 2,600 students, from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Greendale High School, Greendale Middle School and three elementary schools - Canterbury, College Park and Highland View - serve the district's needs. Greendale School District was ranked in the May 2007 issue of "Milwaukee Magazine" as the top K-12 school system among metro area schools. In its "Best Schools" article, the magazine selected Greendale from 57 school districts in a five-county area. "Newsweek" magazine ranked Greendale High School in the top 5 percent of U.S. public schools in its May 28, 2007, issue. More than 90 percent of Greendale High School graduates continue on to four-year colleges, two-year colleges or technical schools.

About Pearson:
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company's investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company's respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, PEMSolutions, Stanford 10, SuccessNet, MyLabs, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker and many others. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson's commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to http://www.pearson.com.

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