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Launch Follows Highly Successful Pilot Program in El Paso, Texas

NEW YORK, August 9, 2006 – Children’s Progress, a leading PreK-3 educational assessment company, announced today the launch of one of the first ever computer-delivered academic assessments for native Spanish language speakers, the Children’s Progress’ Academic Assessment Spanish. The Spanish language assessment – specifically developed to address the needs of the rapidly growing Spanish-speaking student population – evaluates a child's skills in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten mathematics and literacy, so that educators can quickly and accurately identify a student’s abilities and needs. The assessment features voice and graphics in Spanish and generates reports in English and Spanish. For the growing population of Spanishspeaking children entering school every year, this assessment supports more accurate evaluation of skill development and learning needs.


The U.S. Census Bureau projects a 34 percent increase in the overall U.S. Hispanic population between 2000 and 2010; the need to serve Spanish-speaking students educationally has never been greater. As educational studies affirm, it is critical to assess children in their native language, in order to base instruction on an accurate evaluation of their mathematics and literacy skill development, rather than their proficiency in the English language. According to Stanford University Professor Kenji Hakuta’s influential book, Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism1, “Spanish-speaking students are over-represented in special education and the reasons for this may have to do with lack of fluency in English.”


“There are multiple converging pressures on school districts when it comes to assessing early learners, and those pressures increase when you are dealing with students whose native language is not English,” said Columbia University Professor Eugene Galanter, Children’s Progress Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer. “Children’s Progress Academic Assessment Spanish was created to specifically address and alleviate those pressures by allowing educators to get a precise assessment of Spanish language students – and therefore provide the targeted instruction or special help a student may need.”


Children’s Progress Academic Assessment Spanish is already a proven success. The assessment was implemented as a pilot program at Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Pre-Kindergarten Academy, part of the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, Texas, where Spanish is the native language for most students. The computer-delivered Spanish language assessment provided educators with accurate and in-depth information about each student’s learning development. As a result, special education referrals dropped over 50 percent.


Angelica Nieto, RFK’s principal, led the selection and implementation of the Children’s Progress Academic Assessment Spanish.


“The advantages of a computer-delivered assessment, such as adaptive content and error analysis, coupled with an authentic Spanish language version, made it the perfect choice for our school. We were able to pinpoint exactly where in the learning process students were faltering – allowing us to distinguish between a struggling student and a special education student,” said Ms. Nieto. “At the close of the school year, 35 students were referred to special education, down from 90 referrals the year prior. This was a truly extraordinary development for us.”


The Children’s Progress Academic Assessment Spanish in language arts and mathematics is a science-based adaptive assessment tool that uses a patented error analysis and adaptive approach with interactive scenarios to more accurately evaluate, support and track skill development in early learners. It is now available for purchase by schools and districts by contacting Children’s Progress’ Director of Education, Rebecca Tatum, at 212-905-6266.


The full case study on the Robert F. Kennedy Pre-Kindergarten Academy is available upon request.


1 Hakuta, K. (1986). Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism. NY: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers.

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