Hoping to keep more of its students from dropping out, the Apollo Group, which operates the profit-making University of Phoenix, said Tuesday that it would pay $75 million to buy Carnegie Learning, which offers computer-based math instruction.
Carnegie Learning, based in Pittsburgh, was founded in 1998 by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University who developed an approach to teaching math that combines classroom work with computer instruction. Its Cognitive Tutor software analyzes students’ weaknesses as they work through problems and offers new problems until they are ready to move on.
“Math is a subject where we see a lot of students having difficulty” at the college level, said Gregory W. Cappelli, Apollo’s co-chief executive. “We think by adding the Carnegie Learning solution into our platform, we’ll really help our students to have better outcomes in math.”
Carnegie Learning is one of a number of small- to medium-size companies that offer instructional material for use on computers and tablets and data analysis for schools, a market that has piqued investors’ interest in the past year. It says its curricula is used by 600,000 students in grades 6 through 12, in 3,000 schools nationwide.