SOURCE: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.

November 18, 2008 11:29 ET

Britannica Moves Ahead With Math Curricula

Resumes Distribution of Math in Context, Gets Set to Launch SmartMath

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - November 18, 2008) - Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. ( today announced two new initiatives in the area of mathematics curricula for K-12 schools.

On November 1, the company resumed distribution of its popular Mathematics in Context program, a curriculum for grades 5-8 used in schools throughout the United States. Encyclopaedia Britannica is the publisher of the program, which has been marketed on Britannica's behalf in recent years by Holt McDougal (, formerly Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Mathematics in Context was developed by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Freudenthal Institute at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. It's a standards-based curriculum whose initial development was funded in part by the National Science Foundation. Connections are a key feature of the program -- connections among topics, connections to other disciplines, and connections between mathematics and meaningful problems in the real world. The program emphasizes the dynamic, active nature of mathematics and the way math enables students to make sense of their world.

Britannica also plans to introduce Britannica SmartMath, a formative assessment and online, interactive math practice tool for Grades 1-6. It consists of more than 35,000 practice questions that form a closely intertwined curriculum correlated to standards. It combines questions and lessons with a platform that individualizes student learning. Avatars and an award system create a fun, game-like environment that engages students. SmartMath was developed by Planetii (

"These are both excellent programs that together provide comprehensive math coverage through middle school and give our customers one place to find it all," said Michael Ross, a senior vice president at Britannica and general manager of the company's education division.

Ross emphasized that Britannica's push into the math curriculum area is part of a wider effort to move beyond the company's historical focus on reference and provide more products that are highly useful in school.

"There's a growing need for high-quality curricula and other resources in the classroom, and Britannica, with its sterling reputation and widespread presence in schools, is well situated to help meet that need. Increasingly, we'll focus on developing products that integrate reference with the needs of teachers and students in the classroom today."

Schools interested in Mathematics in Context, Britannica SmartMath or any of Britannica's products can go to or call 1-800-621-3900.

About Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., is a leader in reference and education publishing whose encyclopedias and other products can be found in many media, from the Internet to cell phones to books. A pioneer in electronic publishing since the early 1980s, the company also still publishes the 32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica, along with Web sites such as Britannica Online School Edition and new printed products, such as the Britannica Illustrated Science Library. The company makes its headquarters in Chicago.

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