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Pearson Adds Options to PowerSchool SIS

Pearson has introduced three unique data-gathering solutions as upgrades to its PowerSchool student information system, each addressing a different method of designing approaches to improving individualized instruction and optimizing student achievement. All three are part of the Pearson K-12 Learning Suite, a collection of applications that integrates educational data gathering, monitoring, and analysis with digital content for optimal decision making.

The three upgrades are:

PowerSchool Studio Edition: A Web-based learning environment for aligning digital content and assessment with analysis and tools, comparing gathered data with educational standards, and receiving precise recommendations for remediation or, if necessary, acceleration. (It was previously released as "Project Tapestry.")

PowerSchool Limelight Edition: A standards-based assessment engine allowing teachers to determine each student's skill level and make instructional decisions accordingly in order to drive achievement.

PowerSchool Fronter Edition: Specially designed to augment innovation in educational methods, this solution integrates the SIS and learning platform to allow educators maximum flexibility to create an engaging and collaborative learning environment.

All three editions offer a range of data management tools, and each offers features unique to its own approach to data management and integration.

Messmer Catholic Schools (MCS) in Milwaukee will be piloting the Fronter Edition in the 2010-11 school year. Enrolling a particularly enterprising student body, the three-school independent Catholic district expects to realize substantial benefits from a SIS that allows extensive collaboration and access from beyond the classroom.

"Our kids are very connected these days," said MCS Director of Technology Mike Bartels,. "By taking our classrooms online and providing tools like PowerSchool--Fronter Edition, we expect the students to become more engaged, and we'll see better performance."

Originally developed in Norway and acquired by Pearson in 2009, Fronter Edition allows teachers to build their own "virtual classroom," where students can come together online and access a broad range of communication and collaboration tools. Users can create an unlimited number of these classrooms, which feature tools such as discussion forums, voting features, personal message recording and other advanced social networking options, and an electronic drop box to submit class assignments. Even MCS librarians have said they want to convert their book clubs to the Fronter online format.

Pearson has said it plans to partner with school districts like MCS in the coming years to match each district with the SIS that will optimize its student achievement and data management goals.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.