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PLATO Learning Partners with D.C. State Education Agency

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Published on Oct 18, 2006

PLATO Learning Partners with D.C. State Education Agency on Mayor Williams' Adult and Family Literacy Initiative ---

Through the Initiative, Mayor Anthony Williams committed to residents a determined effort to significantly improve the status of adult literacy in the District of Columbia. The State Education Agency (SEA), responsible for the provision of adult literacy services in the District, made a commitment to increase the use of technology, make the Internet more accessible, and raise the standard in basic adult literacy instruction. The SEA initiated the implementation of PLATO Instructional Solution in January 2006 as a means to increase access to; adult literacy instruction, Internet and technology, and a standard high-quality curriculum. In six-months, over 100 literacy instructors were training and 2,000 adult learners were enrolled in PLATO Instruction Solutions across the District. The Initiative is sustained through government funding and partnerships with public and private entities, including Verizon, COMCAST, and the Fannie Mae Foundation.

In a 2003 address, Mayor Williams referenced alarming statistics that 130,000 District residents needed literacy skills enhancement. Sity-two percent of D.C. residents fell in to the tow lowest levels of reading proficiency, and 30 percent of D.C. residents age 16 and older did not have a high school diploma. Mayor Williams stressed the impact illiteracy has, not only on an individual's capacity to earn a living, but also on the ability to effectively educate children. The Mayor committed to join him in addressing the problem through the Adult and Family Literacy Initiative.

An independent evaluation was conducted after the first six months of implementation to determine the impact of the Adult and Family Initiative and PLATO Learning's products. This study compared the CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System) scores of non-PLATO learners with learners using the PLATO instructional content. In Reading, the learners using PLATO content scored an average gain of 6.2 while non-PLATO learners, an average gain of 4.2. In math, PLATO content scored an average gain of 6.8 compared to non-PLATO learners who scored average gains of 2.6.

"We are thrilled to see strong initial results from our participation in the Adult and Family Literacy Initiative," said Mike Morache, PLATO Learning President and CEO. "The Mayor's office has brought together an expert team of education, corporate, and government organizations to ensure the citizens of Washington D.C. have opportunities to improve their skills and access to employment utilizing technology. PLATO Learning is honored to contribute our expertise to such a valuable program."

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