TechStars NY: 1% acceptance rate

October 18, 2011

Source: The Next Web, Oct 2011

12 young startups, have taken the stage to present their companies in front of a crowd of 500+ investors, press and tech industry enthusiasts. The 12 teams were hand-selected from a pool of 1,200 to be a part of the TechStars’ accelerator program, which boasts an 88% success rate for startups. TechStars also operates in Boulder, Colorado, Seattle, Washington and Boston, Massachusetts.

Out of the following 12 companies, 6 announced funding, 1 announced over $1 million in revenue, and others announced over 100K users.


Techstars’ Success Rate: 90% Acquired or Still Active

October 18, 2011

Source: TechStars website

Complements: STEM Education & Creativity

October 17, 2011

Source: Fast Company, Oct 2011

“The U.S. education system is much more geared to innovation and practical application,” says Murthy. “It’s really good from high school onward.” To compete long term, we need more brainstorming, not memorization; more individuality, not standardization.

At the top of the market are the jobs everyone wants. And guess what? These are the jobs that many graduates of the American education system are well prepared for. These jobs require creativity, problem solving, decision making, persuasive arguing, and management skills. In this echelon, a worker’s skills are unique, not interchangeable. “These jobs deal with a tremendous amount of information, but the added value of the worker is in doing the non-routine parts,” says Autor. Technology and outsourcing routine tasks make these top workers even more powerful and productive, giving them even more data and tools with which to innovate.

Shanghai’s PISA Scores

October 15, 2011

Source: The Diplomat Blogs, Sep 2011

Schleicher explained that, twenty years ago, the knowledge that students learned in schools would find them a good job and be applicable for the rest of his or her life but today, technology and the Internet have made knowledge readily available and thus cheap.

What’s important then is the ability to sift through available knowledge, analyse it, and apply it to new situations. In this regard, Shanghai schools are doing well: according to Schleicher, 26 percent of Shanghai students demonstrated complex problem solving skills on the PISA, whereas the OECD average is 3 percent.

But to succeed in the constantly changing global economy today, Schleicher argued, students need to understand that learning is a life-long process, and thus they must possess a passion for learning as well as the ability to learn for themselves. And that’s where Shanghai falls down: 15 year-olds in OECD countries show more curiosity and initiative than Shanghai 15 year-olds, who from the first day of school have been made passive and stressed by too much homework and tests. 

Chinese educators and parents may argue that childhood is a time to develop a strong foundation of knowledge. But Schleicher warned that OECD data suggest that if students haven’t yet developed self-learning skills and a passion for learning by age 15, then it’s unlikely they ever will. 

A question here then is: Do Chinese schools make learning so unpleasant for students that they don’t want to learn anymore after they leave school? Anecdotal evidence suggests that’s the case: After they finish the national examination, Chinese students burn their textbooks, spend four years in college playing video games, and enter the workforce unprepared for the re-learning that their job requires.

Map of Education Technology Market

October 14, 2011

Source: New Schools, Oct 2011

NewSchools is pleased to share this K-12 education technology market map with the entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and education communities. This tool provides a visual representation of ventures currently operating in the education technology market.

Ivies: Fallback plan for Indian students

October 14, 2011

Source: NYTimes, Oct 2011

Moulshri Mohan was an excellent student at one of the top private high schools in New Delhi. When she applied to colleges, she received scholarship offers of $20,000 from Dartmouth and $15,000 from Smith. Her pile of acceptance letters would have made any ambitious teenager smile: Cornell, Bryn Mawr, Duke, Wesleyan, Barnard and the University of Virginia.
But because of her 93.5 percent cumulative score on her final high school examinations, which are the sole criteria for admission to most colleges here, Ms. Mohan was rejected by the top colleges at Delhi University, better known as D.U., her family’s first choice and one of India’s top schools.

Tutoring Rates

October 11, 2011

Source: SmartMoney, 2011

… parents will prioritize paying anywhere from $20 to $200 an hour for scholastic support.

Experts say the fastest-growing group of tutoring consumers is high school students, driven by cutthroat competition for college admission. “We have students making A’s who want A-plusses,” says Christina Lee, owner of Palo Alto, Calif. – based Stutors, a firm that only hires Stanford-educated teachers.

Test-prep giant Princeton Review quietly offers one-on-one tutoring services for a cool $115 to $425 an hour, depending on whether you choose “private,” “master” (at least two years’ experience) or “premier” (its most elite squad).

while the average rate for big-chain tutoring ($45 to $60 an hour) is comparable to the average for one-on-one instruction, that kind of attention is actually rare; usually, three students share a tutor, who works with each of them intermittently, round-robin style.

Personal, one-on-one attention and customized teaching (not work sheet curricula) is the preferred way to help students deal with their academic challenges — especially since many youngsters need help and encouragement just learning how to learn.

NYC Hourly Tutoring Rates

October 11, 2011

Source: NYTimes, Feb 2009

In addition to paying tuition, “You’re not going to get through private school without tutoring a kid,” said Sandy Bass, the editor of Private School Insider, a newsletter that covers private schools in the New York City area. One hour of tutoring once a week is $125. “That’s the low end,” she said. “The higher end is 150, 175.” SAT tutors are about $250 an hour. Total cost for 30 weeks of regular tutoring: $3,750.

Gaming the College Admissions Process

September 26, 2011

Source: Mindshift, Sep 2011

A couple of new startups — Parchment and Acceptly — have entered the space recently, aiming to help deliver better advice and assistance for high school students and their parents — for free.

Although both the startups offer guidance to students going through the college application process, they each take a different approach. Parchment helps provide data-oriented assessments to help point students towards what it calculates is a good fit, while Acceptly helps students keepup-to-speed with the various activities they need to do to look like a “good fit.”

Acceptly helps students get organized for the application process. The site uses points and badges, the latter of which can be posted to the student’s Facebook profile, in order to help guide them through the various steps. It isn’t simply about filling out the paperwork of the application itself; it’s about helping prompt students to engage in a multitude of activities that will help boost their chances for admission to their dream schools.

There’s a badge for signing up for the SAT. There’s a badge for doing test prep. There’s a badge for participating in activities, and there’s one for thinking through what those activities can (and should) be, as well as encouraging reminders to try for leadership positions. There’s a badge for talking to the college counselor at school. There’s a badge for signing up for the types of college-preparatory classes that are known to look good on the application. You get the point.

All of these steps make it clear what students should do to pull together their materials, and the easy-to-use interface can also serve as a reminder or “To Do” list of sorts to help keep students on track.

Acceptly is clearly aimed at students. That’s great for students who are prepared to really own their future and their direction, but perhaps less helpful for students who’ll need more help and encouragement than just a virtual badge.

The startup is still in beta and is actively seeking feedback from its testers to help build its service.

Parchment approaches the questions surrounding college admissions from a data-oriented, rather than a “gamified” perspective. The startup was founded by Blackboard co-founder Matthew Pittinsky and describes itself as an “education data company.”

Parchment taps in to Docufide, a service through which students send their transcripts to colleges. Parchment builds on the Docufide platform, so that students’ credentials can be transferred to universities, but also so that the company can help students gauge whether or not their credentials are adequate to gain admissions into certain colleges.

According to Parchment, the company works much like Netflix or Amazon recommendations — using vast amounts of users’ data — GPA, SAT scores, extracurricular activities and so on — the site can assess whether former applicants with similar profiles gained admission into certain schools. Parchment also says it can help point students towards schools that match their profiles, helping them find schools that are a good fit.

HS Class of 2011 SAT Scores

September 15, 2011

Source: FairTest, Sep 2011