David & Padraic (founders of jumpAgrade and Nurture) started jumpAgrade, their first education business, together in 2017. They wanted to make extra tuition for secondary school students in Ireland (K-12 in the US) more accessible by moving it online, and lowering costs by taking out the burden of travel.
What they found after getting up and running were huge inequalities in access to educational support for students, as a result of Ireland’s 'grinds culture’. The cost of grinds (extra tuition) was making them inaccessible to the majority of students within lower socio-economic areas or underrepresented backgrounds. This meant that these students' grades were lower overall, and thus their ability to progress was hindered.
That’s when their focus shifted- “ok, how can we be as effective as possible in delivering personalized feedback so that as many students as possible can get it, regardless of background?” They then began working with Learnovate, the EdTech research and design team in Trinity College, Dublin, looking at building a framework to tackle creating fast and effective formative feedback. This research established a structure for giving personal feedback to students online faster than possible before.
Fast forward 5 years and jumpAgrade is now a registered charity with backing from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and Rethink Ireland. Students from lower socio-economic areas, migrant backgrounds, the Travelling community, lone parent families, among others, get their online grinds funded for them by university access programs, philanthropists, and local development programs. jumpAgrade is contributing to levelling the playing field in the Irish education system with jumpAgrade students on average increasing their grades by 19%.
For Nurture’s our story page, this is where the jumpAgrade section ends though jumpAgrade is still thriving today! The framework for feedback designed in collaboration with Learnovate in the early days of jumpAgrade was what laid the foundations for Nurture to follow. David and Pádraic, having had success giving feedback to students online at scale, felt all teachers should have a digital tool for giving fast and effective personalized feedback. So they started designing Nurture. Now, Nurture is a certified Microsoft Partner due to our Microsoft Teams integration and winners of the 2022 International e-Assessment awards for “Best Formative Assessment Project”.
We’re passionate about solving a few main things for teachers & students:
1. Reducing repetitive tasks teachers face when marking work by helping them identify common student knowledge gaps and being able to create one set of feedback for that gap.
2. Rewarding teachers for their efforts by making sure students reflect on the feedback they receive and by doing so, improving student’s metacognition.
Tracking student progress over time so learners, teachers, parents, school leaders and departments of education can see learner improvement or lack of over time.
It’s important for us to not make work for teachers, that's why we integrate with Microsoft Teams: tools that teachers use and know well already.