News + Ideas
NewSchools Venture Fund leads $1.1 Million funding round for MasteryConnect
December 7, 2011
MasteryConnect Gives Teachers Real-Time Data on Student Progress and Provides Free Tools for Teachers to Collaborate Around Common Core Standards; the Funding Round includes Learn Capital, Imagine K12, and Angel Investors
San Francisco, CA—December 7, 2011—NewSchools Venture Fund today announced that MasteryConnect, an education technology company that seeks to support teachers in the transition to the Common Core by making it simple and easy for them to find, administer, score, and track student data from formative assessments, received over $1 million in seed funding. NewSchools led the round of funding with an investment of $600,000; Learn Capital, Imagine K12, and additional investors also participated in the round. The funding will be used to scale the organization and provide the MasteryConnect platform for teachers to share, collaborate, and assess around the new Common Core Standards.
Formative assessments are activities that provide teachers with information to modify their teaching and learning activities based on student mastery, and include quizzes and other informal student assessments.
“MasteryConnect is a company at the leading edge of a paradigm shift in education—towards mastery of core concepts as the barometer of student success,” said Ted Mitchell, CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund. “We’re thrilled to support the MasteryConnect team as they address a challenge we’ve heard from teachers across the country: how to access real-time student data to inform their instruction.”
In 2009, the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with 48 states, began the development of a single set of reading and math standards to define consistent expectations for the skills students need to be successful in college and beyond. The Common Core State Standards were released in June 2010 and adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. MasteryConnect provides teachers with formative assessments submitted from educators across the country tracked to specific Common Core standards. Progress reports visualize student data in real time, allowing teachers to tailor their instruction to the individual needs of their students.
“Thanks to MasteryConnect, educators can connect with colleagues throughout the nation to develop and share common assessments around the Common Core Curriculum,” said Dr. Rick DuFour, a prominent educational leader and author of many leading books in education research. “Educators can now extend their professional learning communities beyond their schools. This ready access to expanded expertise is exactly what we have been hoping would become available to educators.”
MasteryConnect is currently being used by thousands of teachers and educators, representing more than 2,000 school districts in all 50 states.
“This is by far the most powerful tool that I have come across in 16 years of teaching,” said Stephanie Truitt, a fourth grade teacher at Flint Lake Elementary in Indiana. “To be able to create differentiated groups that are fluid, to get ‘down and dirty’ data with the ability to immediately remediate in a manner that allows me to share at any time with colleagues, administrators, and parents is wonderful. I feel more empowered than ever.”
MasteryConnect also created an app for Android and iPhone devices which gives parents and teachers access to Common Core standards, categorized by subject area and grade level. The app, which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, means parents can see and relate to the new standards their children are expected to master.
“States that have adopted the new core are expecting teachers to make the transition from state standards to Common Core, and that presents a huge challenge to educators at all levels. We’re excited to be providing a way to make the transition simple,” said Mick Hewitt, MasteryConnect CEO. “NewSchools brings an unmatched passion for changing education and improving technology tools for teachers. Their support will significantly accelerate our ability to scale our organization and provide the MasteryConnect platform for teachers to share, collaborate, and assess around the new Common Core Standards.”
About NewSchools Venture Fund
NewSchools Venture Fund is a not-for-profit organization working to close the achievement gap by funding and supporting entrepreneurs who are creating innovative solutions to the problems in public education so that all children have the opportunity to succeed in college and beyond. Since our founding in 1998, NewSchools has invested $180 million in more than 70 nonprofit and for-profit educational organizations working to promote student achievement. Recognizing that neither private charity nor capital markets alone are enough to solve the problem of education inequality, we blend the best of both approaches to ensure an excellent education is available to every child. We actively share what we’ve learned through our investments, bring together educational leaders from across the country, and advocate for smart policies at the federal level. Learn more at www.newschools.org.
In just a few short months since launch, MasteryConnect’s online assessment sharing community around the Common Core has grown quickly and now has teachers representing over 2,000 districts in all 50 states and D.C. The MasteryConnect Common Core app, just recently launched, has been downloaded by parents and educators over 100,000 times. MasteryConnect is leading the roll-out and transition to the Common Core Standards by providing teachers both free and premium tools to track student mastery, share and discover formative assessments, and collaborate in a meaningful way around the new core. By connecting teachers in a social network across the 46 Common Core states, teachers and administrators can easily create and share a ‘next generation’ of assessment and connect in a global professional learning community. Formative assessment tools on the iPod, iPad, and computer browser help to save teachers time and provide immediate feedback to inform instruction around Common Core standards. MasteryConnect is changing the conversation from the letter-grade discussion of the past to real engagement with students and parents about what a student ‘knows’ or ‘doesn’t know’ relative to the core standards. Learn more at www.masteryconnect.com.