Mastering Education

Education is a top priority in this country. Teachers and administrators are desperate to improve students’ learning in an efficient way, and are looking to technology to help them. So far, the approach to deploying devices and educational software in our schools has been haphazard and inconsistent, challenging entrepreneurs to build products useful to a large subset of teachers and learning environments.

At Trinity, we’ve looked hard to find a solution that has the potential to massively improve student outcomes while reaching as many teachers and students as possible; something that will bring teachers, students and parents closer together, and that will support the growth of next-gen teaching methods such as formative assessment. We believe we’ve found that in MasteryConnect, and today we’re delighted to announce our partnership as we lead the the company’s Series B fundraise. To see why MasteryConnect is unique it would be helpful to understand why previous endeavors in the edtech space have realized only a fraction of the potential of the K-12 market.

First, not every classroom is a digital classroom. Educational software products which require complete penetration of tablets or laptops will find their market constrained to charter schools and narrow niches with special pockets of funding. Even those schools with the budget to equip every student often find teachers who prefer, out of habit or doctrine, to stick with pen and paper. Great technology must work for every teaching style and learning environment.

Second, the rise of Common Core and other standards-based rubrics has not changed teaching styles overnight. These Cores did mandate standardization of year-end assessments, but few classrooms were prepared to completely change their methods and tools. The best education software companies support gradual, piecemeal changes to curricula and allow very different classrooms to collaborate.

Finally, the “payors” in education have not changed. Despite the rise of innovative approaches to monetization in the consumer world, business models based on advertising or the sale of data or ancillary products have not taken hold in our classrooms. We believe schools and districts are eager customers of technology products that advance student learning directly and indisputably, though it takes a special kind of sales team to build the right partnerships.

MasteryConnect ticks all these boxes, and does so with a product that is intuitive, accessible and intelligent. Their core offering is a “curriculum and assessment” suite which helps teachers build lesson plans around various standards, discovering the best resources which have been curated by a global community. Teachers can then assess student understanding on an annual, monthly or even intra-day basis (so-called summative, benchmark and formative assessment), and opportunistically reteach or challenge students according to their comprehension. Finally, MasteryConnect drives “mastery-style” report cards for forward-thinking schools and districts, summarizing a student’s grasp of all the standards associated with the given class. In this way, report cards become a status report, rather than a judgement, and provide a clear path to expected levels of achievement. It does all of this regardless of the penetration of technology in the school or the preferences of the instructor, saving even the most traditional teacher hours a week.

MasteryConnect delivers a breakthrough K-12 learning platform that rides the wave of forward-looking education policy, while embracing the classrooms of today. Most importantly, it puts teachers and districts in control so that they can support their curricula, use their proven teaching methods, share materials and best practices, and focus on education instead of administration. MasteryConnect is used by teachers in every state and almost every district in the country, and is increasingly deployed district-wide.

To us, MasteryConnect represents not only the best of education technology innovation, but also an exciting investment because of its unique team. Blending deep education domain experience with world class management capability, they have developed a passionate, mission-driven culture based on transparency and accountability. Product innovation, commitment to client success and a partnering mentality are in their DNA.

We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with the MasteryConnect team, and to provide them with the capital they need to bring formative assessment and mastery-style education to every school in the country. Changing the world in a fundamental way to benefit our kids while building a world-class company: that’s real mastery.

To Cory, Mick, Doug, Trenton and the whole MC team — welcome to the Trinity family!