REDMOND, Wash., June 5, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the newest release of its premier learning management platform for grades K-12, Microsoft®
Class Server 3.0. By helping teachers create, deliver and grade standards-aligned assessments and lessons over the Web, Class Server allows K–12 school districts and their teachers to easily track, analyze and improve student achievement against local curriculum standards in accordance with the requirements of the
“No Child Left Behind”
Act of 2001 (NCLB).
“The importance of continually improving our children’s education means that we have to investigate a multitude of new learning programs and methods, including technology,”
said John Q. Porter, associate superintendent and chief information officer of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.
“We decided to implement Microsoft Class Server as part of our District Technology Plan because the platform helps teachers and administrators quickly access and analyze individual student achievement data, thereby enabling much more individualized and immersive educational experiences.”
The requirements of NCLB were foremost in mind throughout the entire Microsoft Class Server 3.0 product development cycle. To help school districts meet the act’s requirements, Class Server now includes local curriculum standards, standards-based grading, and Web-based curricula from a variety of content providers. Microsoft has cultivated deep technology relationships with leading K–12 accountability and assessment solution providers, which have built data warehousing and reporting applications that take advantage of Class Server’s student achievement data to provide Web-based reports for district administrators. Under Title II, Part D of NCLB, school districts can now apply for federal funding to acquire and use Microsoft Class Server 3.0 through the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Act of 2001, also known as the Ed Tech Program. Class Server was designed to meet the primary goal of the Ed Tech Program, which aims to increase the use of technology in schools to measure and improve student academic achievement.
“Schools have a difficult challenge addressing the requirements of NCLB in a world of limited resources,”
said Sherri Bealkowski, general manager of Microsoft’s Education Solutions group,
“We feel compelled to deliver affordable software solutions that provide schools with more value at less cost, by building upon each school district’s existing technology, and by complying with industry open standards to help ensure that their resource investment will yield long-term benefits. We think we’ve hit the mark right-on with Class Server 3.0.”
To help schools ensure less-costly, more-sustainable deployment and integration, and to enable them to use content from multiple providers, Microsoft Class Server 3.0 has been designed to be compliant with the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), Information Management System (IMS) and Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) open standards. SIF interoperability has the potential to dramatically reduce deployment and data integration costs. IMS compliance means that Class Server customers can purchase more than 50 compatible content and assessment offerings across math, science, social studies and English from international providers including Thomson Learning, Broad Education Inc., XSIQ International Pty Ltd., ExploreLearning and Scantron Corp.
“The law requires us to assess at least 95 percent of our students,”
said Joe Kitchens, superintendent of Western Heights Public Schools in Oklahoma City.
“And that means we have to track students across the district, school, grade and class levels. Microsoft Class Server 3.0 is a key component of our system and enables us to track student progress across these subgroups.”
Breaking down the barriers of competing needs, Microsoft Class Server 3.0 delivers a flexible, education-specific solution with a single point of access. Its new, easy-to-use teacher interface for creating and managing assignments on an individual, group or class basis allows teachers to create lessons and assessments using simple wizards and a friendly Microsoft-standard interface for document design, editing and grading. Teachers can continue to use Class Server to grade papers at home offline — an extremely popular feature carried over from previous versions — which means there’s no need to tie up the phone line while working from home. Students complete assignments using a standard Web browser, and their lessons and test results become a digital portfolio that can be accessed from school or home.
Microsoft Class Server is now available. Educators can visit http://www.microsoft.com/classserver/ for more information on product benefits, solution providers, obtaining NCLB funding for Class Server solutions, content offerings, online demonstrations and professional development resources; they also can register for a free evaluation copy.
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