Zuckerberg, Chan Invest $5 Million in MasteryConnect


Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan have announced a $5 million investment in MasteryConnect, an education technology company that lets teachers plan, teach and evaluate students' performance. The investment extends the company's $15.2 million Series B round, a sum the company says will invest in increasing its learning platform's reach and in facilitating its rapid growth. MasteryConnect now counts about 140 staff.

The Zuckerberg-Chan investment brings MasteryConnect's private funding to a total of $29 million. As TechCrunch observes, the couple has been:

"[Q]uietly amassing a portfolio of both philanthropic and venture investments in education, from a $120 million commitment to Bay Area schools to the funding they contributed to Altschool's most recent $100 million round."

Previously, Zuckerberg donated about $100 million to Newark Schools in New Jersey.

MasteryConnect says their technology is used in 85% of all US school districts and in 170 countries, reaching about 2 million teachers worldwide. MasteryConnect says it has 1,800 paying customers, most of them districts and schools.

Through MasteryConnect teachers can monitor and track their students through individual student ratings. Instead of relying on score, the company employs formative assessment of student performance. It focuses on qualitative feedback to evaluate student performance. Assessment happens concurrently with learning, making it possible for teachers to adjust their teaching to better suit the learning needs of their students.

As EdSurge points out, MasteryConnect measures student performance on more than 700,000 learning objectives set by the states or the Common Core standards. MasteryConnect's CEO aspires for his technology to have all academic standards covered by the platform by the end of 2015.

"It can seem difficult and overwhelming for us as educators to personalize education to each individual student in the classroom. But MasteryConnect provides my teachers the tools to do it easily and efficiently, allowing us to provide students with the academic and life skills they will need in college and beyond," D'Andre Weaver at Gwendolyn Brooks Preparatory Academy in Chicago said in a prepared statement by MasteryConnect.

Expressing his gratefulness for the investment, MasteryConnect CEO Cory Reid said that through personalized teaching educators have an instant and life-changing impact on student learning. Reid explains:

"Teachers are using us to measure and see where students are at before and after they teach," he said. "That way, they can assign the right practice materials or change how they're teaching."

Other MasteryConnect investors include Trinity Ventures, Pelion Ventures, Catamount Ventures, and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

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