updated 3/22/2011 6:45:30 AM ET 2011-03-22T10:45:30

DALLAS, March 22, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With the stakes higher and budgets tighter than ever, schools are exploring a multitude of approaches to prepare for state-mandated tests. One high impact, low cost solution showing results is instructional software that combines rigorous content in math, reading, writing, science and social studies with engaging, interactive features that reinforce and reward student accomplishments. For example, schools that use the Study Island system report that the individualized, standards-based instruction is an important factor in achieving success on state tests.

Developed by Archipelago Learning (Nasdaq:ARCL), Study Island offers inventive practice activities, customized assessments, and productivity tools that improve the performance of K-12 students and their teachers. Used by more than 23,000 schools across the country, the web-based educational program is custom built directly to state standards as well as the new Common Core Standards.

Kosciusko Middle Elementary (Miss.)

A rural Title I school, Kosciusko Middle Elementary implemented Study Island in 2008 to help prepare students for high stakes testing. All students in grades two and three work on the software in math and reading 30 to 60 minutes a week in the school computer lab.

On the 2010 Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition (MCT2), 72 percent of the school's third graders scored at or above the Proficient level in language arts, and 83 percent scored at or above the Proficient level in mathematics. The percentage of students scoring at the Basic level or above was 94 percent in language arts and 96 percent in mathematics. In 2010, as a result of its success, Kosciusko Middle Elementary was one of 304 schools recognized by U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School.

"Study Island has played a vital part in preparing our students to meet the rigorous challenges of high stakes testing. Our school is regarded as one of the top elementary schools in state of Mississippi," said Principal John-Mark Cain. "Whenever budget cuts are discussed, our teachers always say, 'Make sure we don't lose Study Island.' That tells you how important it is."

Shamokin Area School District (Pa.)

Shamokin Area School District is an urban district in central Pennsylvania. The district began using Study Island to improve the performance of middle school students receiving special education services, and then expanded the implementation to provide standards-based instruction, practice, and assessment to students in grades three through 11.

From 2009 to 2010, the percentage of middle school special education students scoring at the Proficient level in math on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) jumped from 38.8 to 62.5 percent. In 2010, for the second year in a row, the district made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) across all areas of the PSSA.

"Not every student needs the same thing. With Study Island, I can target instruction to the skills each student needs," said Darlene Beishline, a special education math teacher for grades seven and eight, and the K-12 Study Island facilitator for the district. "My special education students have made tremendous gains in math. I've had several students who in fifth and sixth grade scored at the Below Basic or Basic levels on the PSSA, and then in seventh and eighth grade they jumped to the Proficient or even the Advanced level."

Vero Beach High School (Fla.)

Vero Beach High School began using Study Island in fall 2009. Nearly all ninth grade students work on Study Island in math, reading, writing and science. In addition, targeted 10th graders work on the program to address achievement gaps.

From 2009 to 2010, the suburban high school saw gains in the percentage of students achieving proficiency on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). In reading the percentage of ninth graders scoring at the proficient level or above rose from 53 to 58 percent. Tenth grade students also improved their performance in reading, and dramatically increased their FCAT achievement levels in writing. In 2010, Vero Beach High School was named to Newsweek magazine's annual list of the nation's best high schools.

"Study Island is built from the Sunshine State Standards, so it provides all the rigor necessary to help students achieve proficiency in our core curriculum subject areas," said Principal Eric Seymour. "We made substantial gains on the FCAT. The only difference is that these students used Study Island."

In addition to FCAT preparation, Vero Beach High School uses Study Island to help students prepare for Advanced Placement (AP), SAT, and ACT exams. "Study Island saves time by giving students exactly what they need to excel. It shows students which strands they're weak in, so they can focus on the skills they need to pass the exam with flying colors," said Seymour. "Our school also saved more than $54,000 in printed test-prep books and materials by using the online program."

About Archipelago Learning

Archipelago Learning (Nasdaq:ARCL) is a leading subscription-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of education products used by approximately 13 million students in about 37,500 schools throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Our supplemental product offerings facilitate the evolution of education as technology transforms the learning experience. For more information, please visit us at www.archipelagolearning.com .

Study Island is an instructional system that helps K-12 students master grade-level academic standards in a fun and engaging manner. More information, along with pricing for individuals and quantity discounts for educational institutions, is available at the Study Island website: www.studyisland.com .

The Archipelago Learning, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6864

CONTACT: Investor Relations and
         Corporate Communications Contact:
         Christy Linn
         (214) 466-1825
         ir@archlearning.com
         
         Product Media Contact:
         Leslie Eicher
         (314) 965-1776
         leslie@eichercommunications.com

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