Knewton partners with Macmillan to help ELL students

Faith Merino · May 21, 2013 · Short URL:

Knewton and Macmillan target English Language Learners, who have the highest dropout rates

The future of education is all about personalization. Kids come in all varieties, and teaching them the same curriculum with the same content and expecting them all to meet the same goals at the same time is a losing strategy. It could explain why a full third of all high school students don’t graduate.

One of the more interesting startups, Knewton, is attempting to change this with its unique adaptive learning platform, which teaches to the individual student with its Adaptive Learning Platform. And these days, Knewton is counting some of the largest educational publishers among its friends. Knewton announced Tuesday that it is partnering with Macmillan to build next-generation teaching materials for English Language Learners.

Why is this important? Because the longer a student is classified as an English Language Learner, the higher his or her likelihood is of dropping out. In other words, a child who is reclassified as proficient in English in the third grade is more likely to graduate than a student who is reclassified as proficient in the 10th grade. Latino English Language Learners have the highest dropout rates of all students.  

Starting in 2015, Macmillan will be offering “Knewton-enhanced” materials for English Language Learning, which will include personalized grammar and vocabulary lessons, exam reviews, and more. Teachers can then leverage Knewton’s analytics to gain real-time insights into their students’ needs.

“Macmillan Education is a leading publisher that's created award-winning materials used in over 120 countries worldwide. They've been making cutting-edge digital products for a long time and they're going to use our technology to help improve learning outcomes for millions of their students,” said Knewton COO David Liu.

Knewton has partnered with some of the top educational publishers in the world, including Pearson, John Wiley & Sons, and Triumph Learning. Last November, Knewton partnered with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to deliver a new learning solution, “SkillsTutor Powered by Knewton,” to the nation’s incarcerated and court-involved youth. Currently, the graduation rate among incarcerated youth is just 15%. That’s five out of every six incarcerated children dropping out of high school each year.

Dropouts from the class of 2010 alone will cost the U.S. more than $337 billion in lost wages over the course of their lifetimes.

Knewton is making a difference, though. At Arizona State University, classes that have utilized the Knewton platform have seen pass rates increase from 64% to 75%, and withdrawal rates dropped by 56%.

Those results make the company’s growth rates pretty self-explanatory. By the end of 2012, Knewton was reaching 500,000 students. By the end of 2013, Knewton will reach five million students.  


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