Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2000

Software aids in learning process

August 31, 2000

A new learning program will help Eudora students strengthen their academic weakness through the use of computer software.

Students from kindergarten through eighth grade X at Eudora West and Nottingham elementary schools and Eudora Middle School X will soon use ClasssWorks, a national educational computer program that will hone their strengths and improve their weaknesses.

Teachers had a recent in-service training day on the software, and students will take an assessment test before beginning the program this year, said Dale Sample, EMS principal.

"It's at the beginning stage with teachers learning the program and we won't start students on it until we have test results," Sample said.

Teachers will use test results to learn which skills, such as English or math, students need to improve and as a basis for which software lesson packages students will use on a computer.

ClassWorks is an educational management program made up of 160 individual software packages. The program was chosen from among four other similar programs that administrators reviewed last year, said Margery McElwee, district technology director.

"It has this large testing component as well as a placement and grade level testing components, which the others didn't provide," McElwee said about why the district chose ClassWorks.

The program will provide question and answer testing and lessons based on each student's present skill and learning level.

"Naturally, everyone is not on the same page," McElwee said. "Just because a student is in third-grade doesn't mean they can read at a third-grade level."

Students will do more than take tests on the material. Once they complete a skill level, they can further their studies by completing a creative project with the lessons they've learned.

"It reinforces learning and the student can be creative, doing anything they want with the project," she said.

Kindergartners would use "Jump Start" lessons to learn their ABC's, numbers and other rudimentary skills. Elementary and middle school students would learn problem solving, reading, writing and mathematical skills. Teachers will individualize each set of lessons for the student.

"What we hope to accomplish is a truly individualized way of learning," McElwee said.

Although the computer lessons won't be provided to high school students, they will use the assessment and grade-level test portion of the program, said Mindy Salmans, district curriculum director.

"It's a very good program that I think will benefit the students," Salmans said.

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