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PARAMOUNT PUBLISHING AND EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE TO DEVELOP AND MARKET PRINT AND ELECTRONIC WORKPLACE LITERACY AND PRODUCTIVITY PRODUCTS; NEW LITERACY SOLUTIONS STRESS COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS

 NEW YORK, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Paramount Publishing, the nation's leading educational publisher, and Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the SAT, today announced a partnership to develop and market print and electronic products to evaluate and improve employee literacy levels and to enhance productivity. The new products, which are designed to provide businesses with broad-based communications solutions to their workplace needs, will be distributed by Paramount Workplace Training, a division of Paramount Publishing.
 The first ETS products to be exclusively distributed under the partnership are the TALS ("Tests of Applied Literacy Skills"); the TALS locator (a computerized test that quickly identifies the level of an employee's literacy skills) and P.D.Q. BUILDING SKILLS FOR USING PRINT(R) (a multi-media small group literacy curriculum). Paramount Publishing will begin marketing the products early next year.
 The TALS system focuses on fundamental "PDQ" -- prose, document and quantitative -- communications skills that are basic requirements for success in the workplace and underlie more specific job-related skills. Paramount's electronic courseware is designed to work in conjunction with the TALS to measure and improve these basic communications skills. After the TALS locator determines the areas that require improvement, workers begin an individualized program using Paramount Publishing's integrated learning system courseware which tracks and monitors individual progress.
 The ETS-Paramount partnership responds to literacy issues highlighted by a recent survey that placed literacy on the top of America's workplace agenda. The National Adult Literacy survey, conducted by ETS for the U.S. Department of Education, found that nearly half of the nation's adult population have difficulty performing simple literacy tasks such as writing a simple letter or calculating the length of a routine bus trip. It is estimated that nationwide, employees' inability to read, write and perform simple mathematical skills costs businesses between $25 and $30 billion annually in lost productivity.
 "The TALS approach is based on today's wider definition of literacy, a spectrum of skills that includes interpreting, comparing and analyzing all printed information, said Dr. Irwin S. Kirsch, ETS Executive Director of the Literacy Learning and Assessment Group. "Simply testing reading comprehension is no longer a valid measure of literacy, which encompasses a broad set of communications skills."
 According to Kirsch, the new definition of literacy, evolving in an increasingly technological and data-driven society, is comprised of:
 -- prose literacy -- the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and use information contained in texts like news stories, poems and fiction;
 -- document literacy -- the ability to locate and utilize information in materials like job applications, transportation schedules, maps, tables and graphs; and
 -- quantitative literacy -- the ability to apply arithmetic, using numbers contained in print materials to perform tasks like balancing a checkbook, and calculating a tip or the interest on a loan.
 "TALS assesses literacy proficiencies," said Dan Landis, Vice President, Paramount Workplace Training. "After the problem has been defined, the Paramount Workplace Training materials help correct these basic problems that impede successful job performance. This total solution will be the most comprehensive and efficient approach to improving workplace literacy in the market."
 Paramount Workplace Training is a division of Paramount Publishing, the publishing operation of Paramount Communications Inc. (NYSE: PCI). Paramount Publishing is America's leading publisher of educational materials and has significant operations serving the consumer, business and professional markets. Paramount Communications Inc. is a global entertainment and publishing company.
 ETS is the world's largest private educational measurements institution and a leader in educational research. It develops and administers achievement, occupational and admission tests for clients in education, government and business. ETS has six regional offices and annually administers nine million exams in the U.S. and 180 other countries.
 -0- 11/8/93
 /CONTACT: Andrew Giangola of Paramount Publishing, 212-698-7111, or Ray Nicosia of ETS, 609-734-5050, or Judith Trojan of Paramount Workplace Training, 201-909-6276/
 (PCI)


CO: Paramount Publishing; Educational Testing Service; Paramount
 Workplace Training ST: New York IN: PUB SU: JVN


MP -- NY026 -- 1735 11/08/93 11:36 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 8, 1993
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