An Interview with David Cumberbatch, ECS Learning Systems’ CEO
April 5, 2019
Michael F. Shaughnessy –
1) First of all, can you tell us about yourself and what you do? A bit about your education and experience?
Over the course of my life and career, I have first benefited from a high-quality K-12 education, which led to scholarships and opened the door to life-changing career opportunities. I earned a B.A. in Computing and Economics (Hons, First Class) from the University of Kent at Canterbury as a first-generation college student, and an MPhil in Management Studies from the University of Oxford where I attended as a Rhodes Scholar. I started my working life as an Assistant Teacher in the public school system of my native Trinidad and Tobago.
Based on my educational experience, I shifted focus to opening those same doors for others because I am driven by a core belief that ALL children can be successful if they are given access to a high-quality personalized education. I remain passionate about the potential for technology to transform global education.
Currently, I am President and CEO of Asteria Education Inc. (DBA ECS Learning Systems) and founded the Company in 2017 with a mission to make a game-changing impact in the K-12 space.
I have worked in the education technology space over the past 10 years with K12 and ACT, driving innovation and pioneering new technologies to improve teaching, outcomes, and access from K through 20. I also held leadership positions Microsoft Corporation and Procter & Gamble as well as with start-ups such as Imagitas and SimpleTuition. Lastly, I am a Partner at Apogee Equity Partners, a Senior Advisor to New Market Ventures, and a Member of the Board of Advisors for Village Capital.
2) So, what is PREPWORKS?
With 44 national awards of excellence in college readiness, PREPWORKS is the leader in personalized learning and adaptive technology. Our passion for technology and student achievement drives the development of our technology and our content, as we are committed to change the way students learn and achieve on standardized assessments. PREPWORKS Learning Positioning System® (LPS) draws content specific to student needs from PREPWORKS’ cloud-based question bank, which contains thousands of HD videos, detailed practice questions, and interactive activities. Each question in the course includes step-by-step solutions that are easily digestible so the student may learn from mistakes and make immediate improvements. Our courses are available on any Internet-ready device, so students can access their custom-tailored learning experience whenever and wherever they are. Begin at school, finish at home. No messy downloads, no apps to load, just login and learn!
3) How does it get students ready for college-?
PREPWORKS LPS delivers a personalized program based on specific student strengths and weaknesses, recalculating the program as each student progresses based on performance and potential. Each student needs a unique blend of core skill-building and test-taking strategy.
No matter what a student’s test scores or academic goals, our lessons will equip the student with the appropriate content based on performance.
Our average historical track record of improvement is 300 SAT points and 5 ACT points. For this reason, we guarantee improvement of 200 total SAT points or 3 total ACT points for all students who have entry SAT scores of less than 1300 or entry ACT scores of less than 30, who complete all activities and Practice Tests, and log a minimum of 50 hours in their online course.
4) Now, how do you define “career readiness”?
We support the current standards for college and career readiness that are currently in place with ACT (http://www.act.org/content/act/en/college-and-career-readiness/standards.html) and SAT (https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/about/scores/benchmarks).
5) What ages and grades does this cover?
PREPWORKS offers self-paced online courses and practice tests for grades 6-12 in the following subjects: PSAT, SAT, ACT, Algebra I, Civics, Geometry. PREPWORKS Practice Tests and reporting analytics are available for Biology and US History.
6) Do you have any samples on line that a school district can look at?
Personal demo account logins are available for school personnel after a virtual walk-through of the computer adaptive program has been completed. This ensures the user of the demo account understands the course architecture and is able to navigate the course seamlessly. To get a demo sign up here.
7) Some people like to work online – and some old geezers like me, like to write on paper. Do you have both options?
Yes! We see this as a key differentiator for ECS Learning Systems to other education technology companies in the market.
Our vision is to ultimately provide integrated paper and pencil and online supplementary education solutions for grades 1-12. We have trademarked the term “Age-Appropriate Blended Learning” (https://ecslearn.com/) to indicate the transition from primarily paper to primarily digital solutions as students progress from elementary through to high school. These comprehensive offerings will use a unique mix of artificial intelligence (AI) powered, digital-adaptive learning solutions and paper-based student work-texts, teacher guides, and instructional material for each grade level from 1 to 12 to maximize outcomes and usage.
We strongly believe and support research that paper and pencil should be used in early grades due to the positive impact on cognition and retention. Taking notes and writing on paper improves both longer and short term retention of the material. As a result, our solutions include paper based work-texts for grades 1-8. Starting in grade 3, digital solutions will be introduced to compliment the paper and pencil programs. Currently, we only offer digital for grades 8-12 but are expanding these into the lower grades annually.
We are so confident in the quality of our products, we also back all of our test preparation solutions with score guarantees.
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