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MARYLAND "PRACTICE" TESTING SERVICE IMPROVES SCORES

www.testfactory.net          

East Dorset, Vermont. April 4, 2003- Test Factory, a remarkable on-line practice testing service from the educational software company Tool Factory, Inc., has been officially launched in Maryland, and other states will quickly follow. Bob Keddell, a teacher at Wilde Lake Middle School in Columbia, Maryland has been using Test Factory with his students for two weeks, and already notes improvement in scores across low-performing student populations. One seventh-grade student whose prospects of passing the Maryland Functional Math Test was deemed unlikely in October, now looks ahead to the April testing dates with confidence. Working through the twenty-four practice tests posted on Test Factory, this student finds herself closer than ever before to success.

According to Keddell, Tool Factory has "helped provide so much hope for a group of kids that were projected never to pass. Today I had 24 of these kids cheering each other as they had that magic moment when they hit the YES, I'M DONE key. The score that pops up in Test Factory, large and undeniable on the computer monitor, puts them ever closer to their goal of passing the Maryland Functional Math Test. I cannot say thank you enough. It is truly a pleasure to teach those in the most trouble with the tools you are offering."

Early pilot schools are reporting that Test Factory is giving students a new sense of responsibility for their own learning progress. Test scores are broken down by objective and as a result, students are proactively coming to teachers and asking for help on specific topic areas such as "fractions" or "percents". According to Keddell, "The straight forward design of Test Factory is allowing students to work towards an educational career that is self-evaluative and forward looking."

Test Factory also gives teachers and administrators the ability to monitor and track student progress. Test results may be tracked by age, grade level, race, class, or free lunch programs, so that the academic achievement of particular groups of students can be studied and analyzed. With the information gleaned from test results, schools may begin to address discrepancies in learning to ensure that no student is left behind. The online tracking capability of Test Factory increases accountability as it allows district and state-level officials to get an instantaneous look at how students in every school are progressing and improving test scores. Our federal legislation now mandates it.

On January 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted. Now, over a year later, each state in America is facing the challenges of setting "clear and high standards for what students in each grade should know and be able to do in the core academic subjects of reading, math, and science" and of measuring student progress toward those standards by administering annual tests. Under the NCLB law, schools can no longer afford to let students fail. Each year, every child in grades three through eight will be tested, and the pressure is now on students, teachers, and administrators to raise the level of achievement on standardized tests.

Feeling the pressure to succeed and fearing failure, most students react to standardized testing with dread, but Test Factory is already giving kids hope for success as it makes the whole testing process less painful. One of Bob Keddell's students has expressed her enthusiasm for Test Factory in a hastily written email: "hi mr keddell this is Stephanie from your A4 class and I went on the test factory and took the test and got a 364/375!!!!!!! I was so happy my mother started screaming and she told me to do that on the real test so I hope I pass next time but I'll keep practicing just in case bye! P.S. I hope we don't have school tomorrow, so I can practice some more!!!!!!!!!!"

In Maryland, Test Factory is free until June 1, 2003

For a free school account contact Heather Chirtea at (802) 375-6549 X-202 or email heather@toolfactory.com. Thereafter Test Factory will be sold as unlimited site licenses to schools and districts throughout the state. Unlimited site licenses allow for in-school use of the service as well as teacher take-home usage, and free at-home access for students and parents. The price for an annual license to the Maryland Functional Math Test service is: $999 per elementary school, $1499 per middle school, or $2999 per high school.

Pilot Schools Needed

Tool Factory is now looking for pilot schools in all states, to help develop additional testing services for other subjects and grade levels. Pilot schools are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until testing content in all subjects and grade level are covered. In order to be selected, a school must have a body of written practice tests which Tool Factory will then integrate into the online Test Factory system. In exchange for donating their paper-based practice tests, Tool Factory will give tremendous discounts to pilot schools on the Test Factory service.

Contact Tool Factory

www.toolfactory.com , www.testfactory.net

For a free school-wide license through June 1, contact Tool Factory at: 3336 Sunderland Hill Rd, Sunderland, VT 05250. Phone (802) 375-6549, Fax (802) 375-6860. info@toolfactory.com

See http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/start/facts/testing for more information about NCLB.