At this week’s National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in Chicago,
Scholastic, the children’s publishing and media company, launched
iReAch, a new Internet-delivered Mac compatible reading assessment program. The program builds comprehension and vocabulary skills for students in grades 2-8, as well as prepare them for state and national standardized tests.
iReAch uses standards-aligned tests to provide an indicator of how students will perform on state and national assessments. Students read books chosen from hundreds of titles, then take online tests based on their grade level. iReAch assesses comprehension and vocabulary skills, with questions targeted to 39 specific skills. The test items are correlated to the five major standardized tests and to every single statewide assessment of curriculum frameworks, according to Scholastic.
Optional open-ended questions call for short-answer responses and are also designed to assess specific target skills. Optional writing prompts provide for more in-depth, creative and real-world writing in Expressive, Informative and Persuasive writing modes.
iReAch purportedly offers immediate scoring with evaluative reports that indicate how students will perform on high-stakes state and national standardized tests. Based on student test performance, the program recommends books that will help students improve their weakest or untested skills.
Minimal Mac requirements are: a Mac running Mac OS 7.x or better (Mac OS X compatibility is offered only in the Classic environment); Internet Explorer 4.x or later, or Netscape Explorer 4.x or later version; a 28.8 dial-up connection (but it also works with all DSL, Cable modem and other dedicated Internet access), and a screen with at least 800×600 resolution and set to thousands of colors. A demo version is available at the product Web site.
Scholastic also announced a new version of Scholastic Reading Counts!, the company’s reading motivation and management program. Version 2.0 features the new “Flexible Leveling System” that provides educators with the ability to select reading levels and customize point values for their books. Scholastic Reading Counts! 2.0 is a US$49.95 upgrade for existing customers and $369 for a school-wide license and one year of technical support.
Finally, the company announced MyLibrary, which provides analysis of school libraries for the purchase of books and software for Scholastic Reading Counts! It provides analysis of school libraries for the purchase of books and software.
A one-time usage price is $99. Special prices are available for the program when purchased with a Scholastic Reading Counts! upgrade, or with a new Scholastic Reading Counts! installation. Schools can also get special discounts on custom quiz collections when they use MyLibrary.