ACT acquires adaptive learning platform ScootPad

ACT, the nonprofit behind the standardized college-readiness test has acquired ScootPad, a developer of online curricula for K-8 students.

“With so many millions of students forced to learn at home during this difficult time, they need an online platform that fully enables and personalizes the learning process to adapt to their own needs, and that’s what ScootPad provides,” said ACT CEO Marten Roorda in an announcement. “This acquisition is truly a milestone for ACT’s learning vision and strategy, enabling us to help teachers and students in the classroom and at home with a cutting-edge platform that provides integrated measurement and learning pathways. ScootPad is a natural fit with ACT’s mission to help all learners succeed.”

Based in California, ScootPad was created in 2011 as a tool to detect and fill knowledge gaps for children. Since the company’s founding, it has grown rapidly and now serves thousands of schools around the world and is assisting hundreds of thousands of K-8 students.

“We’re excited about this acquisition and the new chapter of growth and scale for ScootPad,” said Bharat Kumar, ScootPad co-founder and CEO. “ACT’s mission is very closely aligned with our own — we both are committed to helping students succeed. We are truly thrilled to be passing this torch to ACT.”

ScootPad’s platform provides comprehensive adaptive curricula with more than a thousand standards and textbook-aligned learning paths. The platform provides teachers with information they can use to guide student progress toward mastery of academic skills. It automatically detects knowledge gaps in real-time to help each student focus on exactly what they need to move ahead with the right level of instruction, practice, measurement and remediation.

The platform has become increasingly helpful to educators in the wake of COVID-19, with school closings forcing so many teachers and students to migrate to online learning.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Not just a testing company

This deal marks ACT’s first acquisition of 2020. Since changing leadership in 2015, the Iowa City-based company has made more than a dozen deals in which it has invested in, acquired or formed strategic partnerships with educational companies in an effort to transform itself from an “assessment company” into “an organization providing learning, measurement, and navigation support to learners.”

Most recently, the company acquired Mawi Learning, an Illinois-based online learning curriculum that empowers K-12 educators & students with proven SEL tools that boost learning and build confidence. In 2018, the company invested in Open Assessment Technologies, a San Francisco-based startup that offers open-source tools for building and delivering digital tests. It has also invested $10.5 million in New Markets Venture Partners, an education venture fund based in Maryland.

In March, ACT announced a broad-based effort to provide free digital learning and workforce resources to assist students, teachers, schools and workers impacted by COVID-19. The company also announced that beginning in September 2020, the ACT test will be available as an online test in addition to the traditional paper-and-pencil format.

Previous coverage

ACT acquires Mawi Learning -June 25, 2019

ACT makes strategic investments as it continues to expand its scope -Oct. 1, 2018

At Clay & Milk, we want to tell stories about the many ways entrepreneurs and startups are adapting and stepping up to combat coronavirus. Fill out this form to tell us your story and we will be in touch.