The Jefferson Education Accelerator, a commercial venture that invests in educational technology companies that agree to put their products through rigorous research, has a new partner: the math and science curriculum and assessment provider Agile Mind.
Ed-tech companies that take part in the accelerator agree to give up a small portion of equity, in exchange for advice and other support.
A core part of that support is the JEA’s work arranging high-quality research on vendors’ products, conducted by scholars at the University of Virginia – which is an advisor to the accelerator – and others around the country.
Agile Mind, founded in 2002, provides digital curriculum, formative assessment and teacher supports in middle and high school math and science. The company says its work has been developed with help from, among others, researchers at the University of Texas-Austin; the Learning Sciences Research Institute, and the University of Illinois-Chicago.
In July, the Jefferson Education Accelerator announced that Echo 360, a higher education tech platform, would be its first official partner. Echo 360 allows students to anonymously ask questions in class, take notes, and revisit college lectures.
Bart Epstein, the JEA’s chief executive officer, said in an e-mail to Marketplace K-12 that his organization is working with a number of companies that are still in the nascent stages of laying out plans to research their products.
Agile Mind is not the first K-12 partner the JEA is working with, he said, but it is the one “furthest along in terms of growth and quality/quantity of efficacy research.”
“Some of the companies we are working with are still in the earlier stages of laying the internal foundation necessary to be confident that they are ready to open themselves up to scrutiny of higher expectations,” Epstein said. “When we announce a company as a partner it should generally be a signal that the company is quite far along the continuum.”
The JEA says its goal is to identify and evaluate “the most promising education solutions in the U.S. and put them on track to achieving scale.”
Agile Mind CEO Linda J. Chaput said in a statement that the JEA was “far more than an investor-partner.”
“Together we are committed to demonstrating publicly that we can make a profound impact on student achievement,” she said, “and that educational outcomes, above all, should drive the growth that will enable us to make an impact at scale.”