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U Startup FastBridge Learning Acquired by Leading Ed-Tech Company

Grade school children participating in class

An educational assessment startup based on University of Minnesota research has been acquired by California-based Illuminate Education, a leading provider of education technology for grades K–12.

FastBridge Learning, headquartered in Minneapolis, provides assessment tools and training for teachers of preschool through 12th-grade to track and improve their students’ learning. The acquisition will combine FastBridge and Illuminate’s capabilities to provide effective formative assessments and assessment platforms, data that informs instruction, and the ability for educators to build strong systems of support within their districts.

“Through this collaboration with Illuminate Education, we’re able to extend the reach of our research-driven innovation model, accelerating our mission to transform the way educators assess and address the learning needs of students,” said Terri Soutor, FastBridge’s CEO, in a news release. “Together, we’ll bring broadened capabilities to support a district’s sustainable, successful tiered instructional model, enabling greater educator and student success.”

At the core of FastBridge is the Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST) software, which helps teachers individually screen, measure, and monitor their students’ progress in reading and math, as well as create personalized plans to keep their students on track. FAST was developed by Theodore J. Christ, PhD, professor of educational psychology in the College of Education and Human Development, along with other academic contributors.

In 2015, FastBridge Learning was launched with help from U of M Technology Commercialization’s Venture Center to expand the FAST technology’s reach to schools across the country. FastBridge now serves nearly 2 million educators and students across 46 states, including a statewide implementation in Iowa.

FastBridge, based in Minneapolis, is the eighth U of M startup to be acquired or go public since 2017.

Read the news release for more on the acquisition.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a writer with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

coss@umn.edu

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