Montgomery County Public Schools Announces Partnership With Innovative Technology Company

Montgomery County Public Schools Announces Partnership
With Innovative Technology Company
Providing Handheld and Web-Based Assessment Solutions for Teachers
Fact Sheet
Partners in developing mCLASS™:Reading 3D™ handheld computer and Web-based assessment
 Montgomery County Public Schools.
 Wireless Generation, New York-based education technology company and leading provider of
handheld computer-based observational assessments for grades preK-12.
 Roland Good, Ph.D., and Ruth Kaminski, Ph.D., co-authors of DIBELS assessment, both of the
University of Oregon and Dynamic Measurement Group.
 Harcourt Achieve, a leading educational publisher. Harcourt Achieve is providing books from its
acclaimed Rigby imprint for reading record assessment included within mCLASS:Reading 3D
The software is sold to schools, districts, and state education agencies on a per-student annual
subscription basis. mCLASS:Reading 3D software costs $21 per student, per year, with discounts
available for volume purchases.
Benefits for MCPS:
 Discount on per-student annual subscription for use of the software in all 125 of the district’s
elementary schools.
 Royalties on every sale of the software outside of the district. The district expects to earn a seven
figure return on sales of the product over 3 years.
Background on early reading assessment:
The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 38% of the nation’s fourth graders (1.4 million
children) fail to learn to read by fourth grade. The act of reading requires the mastery of a series of subskills, such as recognizing letters, combining letters into words, and understanding the meaning of words
and sentences. To evaluate the developing reading skills of younger students for whom a “fill in the
bubble” test is not appropriate, teachers use observational assessments. These assessments are
administered one-to-one, and allow teachers to observe and record students’ specific reading behaviors.
Observational assessments generate detailed information that enables teachers to plan instruction. These
assessments are viewed as highly useful, but time-consuming and sometimes challenging to administer
and analyze.
Wireless Generation handheld computer software enables teachers to administer observational
assessments quickly and efficiently with a Web-based reporting system that supports teachers in
analyzing the results and planning instruction. mCLASS:Reading 3D software offers several assessments
in a single product because many educators use multiple approaches in looking at children’s reading
progress during the year. mCLASS:Reading 3D software allows teachers this flexibility and captures all
of the data in a central place for a complete picture of a student’s reading development.
The assessments included in mCLASS:Reading 3D software include:
The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, known as DIBELS. The research-based
DIBELS measures children’s mastery of the Five Big Ideas in Beginning Reading that are the
focus of many assessment and instructional programs, particularly since the passage of the No
Child Left Behind Act. Forty-five states included DIBELS as part of their Reading First plans.
In quick, one-minute tasks, DIBELS measures children’s abilities to hear sounds in words,
connect sounds with letters, sound out words, and read and understand text passages, as well as
gain vocabulary knowledge. DIBELS enables teachers to quickly identify which students are at
risk for failing to learn to read, and to monitor whether these students are responding to intensive
The Montgomery County Public Schools Assessment Program—Primary Reading (MCPS AP-PR)
is a set of measures, developed and field-tested by the district, that examines children’s
knowledge of basic reading concepts, their understanding of grammar, their ability to represent
sounds in writing, their recognition of common words, and their ability to read and comprehend
text. The MCPS AP-PR is based in balanced literacy, an approach to reading instruction that
blends phonics instruction with a variety of activities that emphasize understanding through
context. These measures allow teachers to deeply probe students’ learning challenges and
diagnose their needs.
Widely used by reading teachers nationwide, reading records are used to place a student at an
appropriate reading level and to examine patterns in the errors that students make when they read
aloud. Reading records are included as part of the MCPS AP-PR. To conduct a reading record, a
teacher listens to a child read a section of text, analyzes the child’s accuracy, and compares the
actual words that the child reads to the original text. The assessment enables the teacher to
understand the skills that the child is most comfortable using to read unfamiliar words, so that the
teacher can support the development of other skills.