Adaptive testing has been around since the 1970s, after inventor David Weiss garnered research grants from the United States military.
Now, Weiss is the owner of Assessment Systems Corporation (ASC) in Woodbury, which partnered with Minneapolis developer 4ROI to create FastTest — a collaboration combining ASC’s adaptive learning expertise and 4ROI’s software savvy.
“Our goal is to provide premier assessment software for students at companies, universities, and school districts. ” says Nate Thompson, VP of Business Development. “Better information on students means that smarter decisions to be made on education.”
FastTest strongly believes they can impact the dire situation our nation’s education system is in by providing an adaptive platform that delivers a product which changes in accordance to each individual student. This works in two ways:
- The tests get easier or harder based on students’ abilities.
- Adaptive tests take half as long by taking away unnecessary questions.
“Not only do we believe this is the way of the future, we have proof it is,” explains Sean Finn, Marketing Coordinator at FastTest. “We have studies both internally and externally showing this testing is actually proved to be an effective form of educational quality.”
Positioning itself politically behind the No Child Left Behind Act, FastTest is looking to provide a product that forces districts to uphold their accountability not only at the student level, but also at the State and Federal levels. Right now, the company is in what they consider a growth stage; since starting out three years ago, FastTest has increased its employee base to 15 and expanded their client list to 50.
“We’re looking for market penetration and development. We aren’t just focused on the education domain, we have a lot of certification groups and testing companies as clients,” says Thompson.
Finn and Thompson say that their main strength is affordability and user friendliness, something they claim large testing companies such as Pearson lack.
They also find that the added bonus of using open source software brings an added dynamic to FastTest. When asked how they define growth, Thompson explains that FastTest values a “quality product paired with good customer service.” And that they would rather focus on a solid, happy foundation before expanding exponentially.
“There’s a big opportunity for FastTest to grow and we can compete on tech with the big wigs. I feel like we went through middle school, figured out who we are, and now it’s time to start growing up.”