Knewton launches full-force into K-12 market with HMH

Faith Merino · June 6, 2013 · Short URL:

Knewton partners with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to reach millions of K-12 students

Last November, adaptive learning technology platform Knewton partnered with renowned educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to provide a learning program for incarcerated students. The partnership was a toe in the water as Knewton looks to get deeper into the K-12 market. Now, it looks like Knewton’s K-12 expansion has just gotten a turbo boost. Knewton and HMH announced Thursday that they’re taking their partnership to a whole new, game-changing level that will involve the creation of Knewton-powered products to cover all of the core subject areas.

The first program to be introduced this fall is Personal Math Trainer Powered by Knewton, which will be the digital component to HMH’s Go Math! program. The program will use Knewton’s adaptive learning platform to analyze down to the concept level each student’s personal strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and pace, and provide trajectories for each student to determine the most efficient learning paths and goals.

Personal Math Trainer will launch as a pilot in a few schools this fall and will launch at scale next summer.

Accounting for 41% of the K-12 educational materials and services market, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is an ideal distribution partner for Knewton. In the first five years, Knewton expects to reach an additional 5- to 10 million students—a number that will likely grow as the company produces programs to cover other core subjects, like reading.

“We’re providing Knewton analytics, so even before adaptive learning starts to take hold, teachers will have concept level insights into each student’s individual learning path,” said Knewton COO David Liu, in an interview. “It will be like walking into a dark room and turning on a flashlight.”

At the end of 2012, Knewton was reaching 500,000 students. By the end of this year, Knewton will be reaching five million students.

Knewton has acquired an impressive list of partners, which includes Pearson, John Wiley & Sons, Triumph Learning, and Macmillan—with whom Knewton partnered last month to produce Knewton-enhanced materials for English Language Learners.

“Many solutions claim to offer an adaptive learning experience, but we believe that Knewton offers a level of rigor, analysis, and insight that reflects the best of what our industry has to offer,” said Mary Cullinane, Chief Content Officer and Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “HMH’s digital products built with Knewton’s technology will deliver advanced K–12 solutions that will significantly impact instruction and outcomes.”

Knewton first partnered with HMH last November for SkillsTutor Powered by Knewton, a program for incarcerated youth, who have an average 15% graduation rate. They also have different needs from other students. For example, a student might be 16, but still read at a third grade level, so the content must be reformatted to suit him. 


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