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Peterson's Launches Online Courses for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills -TAKS- High School Exit-Level Exams.

Business Editors

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 20, 2003

Courses in Mathematics, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science That Deliver Totally Customized Instruction to Each Student

In support of a statewide push to improve high school graduation and college acceptance rates at Texas high schools, Peterson's, a part of The Thomson Corporation (TSX:TOC; NYSE:TOC) and a leading provider of test preparation and college planning services, today announced the launch of Peterson's Online Test Prep Courses for the four TAKS exit-level assessments which every Texas high school junior must pass: Mathematics, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. Peterson's is currently working with a number of pilot school districts to further develop the Online TAKS Courses program. In September, Peterson's launched similar customized online courses for the SAT, ACT, and PSAT nationwide.

Designed using award-winning Learning Object Technology, Peterson's TAKS Online Courses each take approximately 20-24 hours to complete and provide students with a personalized program of instruction based on their individual needs. Results of initial diagnostic tests are used to create a unique Customized Learning Path(TM), a series of lessons targeted to each student's strengths and weaknesses on the tested standards in Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. The first lessons will cover topics where the student is weakest. Students are given brief quizzes following each topic or lesson to assess and validate what they have learned. After completing the Learning Path, students can take three full-length practice tests to apply their improved skills and prepare for the test day experience.

"There are an infinite number of learning paths for students to follow so that every student, regardless of their skill level and learning style, has a chance to improve. And the courses are conveniently accessible at any time from anywhere students can connect to the Internet--in the classroom, in a lab, or at home," said Gregg Driben, VP of Online Test Preparation for Peterson's.

The courses do not simply teach basic skills in Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. The topics covered in each lesson correspond to a specific set of state-determined Objectives and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that form the basis of each TAKS exam. In fact, every tested TEKS is taught in Peterson's Online TAKS courses.

Each TAKS Online Course includes an administrative reporting application, which enables teachers and administrators to generate comprehensive reports analyzing student, class, school, and district performance by topic, section, question, Objective, and TEKS. The reports can be used to monitor student usage, identify struggling students, determine potential weaknesses in a school's curriculum, and help fulfill state and federal accountability requirements.

The launch of Peterson's TAKS courses coincides with Texas Governor Rick Perry's November 12 announcement introducing the Texas High School Project. Funded jointly by the state government, various Texas charities, and foundations established by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Dell Computer founder Michael Dell, the initiative aims to decrease dropout rates and support low-income students' chances of attending college. To be eligible for this funding, districts must first apply for and receive grants under the Texas High School Completion and Success program, administered by the Texas Education Agency and which has a deadline of November 25. Using Peterson's TAKS Online Courses can help schools and school districts with at-risk students meet the established criteria of the Texas High School Completion and Success grant.

For more information about Peterson's Online TAKS Courses call 877-TEST-PREP or visit www.petersoncom/teagrant.

About The Thomson Corporation and Peterson's

The Thomson Corporation, with 2002 revenues of $7.8 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. The Corporation's common shares are listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges (TSX:TOC; NYSE:TOC). Its learning businesses and brands serve the needs of individuals, learning institutions, corporations, and government agencies with products and services for both traditional and distributed learning. Peterson's (www.petersons.com) is a leading provider of education information and advice, with books and online resources focusing on education search, test preparation, and financial aid. Its Web site offers searchable databases and interactive tools for contacting educational institutions, online practice tests and instruction, and planning tools for securing financial aid. Peterson's serves 110 million education consumers annually.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Nov 20, 2003
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