Latvian startup Edurio creates a culture of feedback at schools

By 20 January 2017Education, Startups

What is the measure of a school’s quality? Surely, not grades – these are just a measure of how effectively do the students solve tests. Number of competition winners? It doesn’t say much about the school environment. Edurio is a Latvian startup that provides schools with tools for a comprehensive assessment of their quality, which immediately point to actions that should be undertaken.

“Students, their families and their teachers are the ones who are experiencing education day-to-day. They can give us better insight into the impact of policies or new tech, but we need to talk to them,” said Ernest Jenavs, the CEO of Edurio. “Edurio not only makes it possible to hear from everyone, but really simplifies the process and makes it easy to adapt depending on the country or needs of the school.”

How does it look in practice? First, and Edurio account is created for a specific group – a country, a region, or a private school network. The account administrator imports all relevant data, for example assigning teachers to certain subjects. Then, he either chooses surveys from a vast library or creates his own custom ones. After surveys are prepared, they are sent to students, parents and teachers. Each group receives a targeted, age-adjusted survey so that while students describe their experience with school environment, parents can raise their concerns, and teachers – express their needs and opinions.

After all responses have been collected, they are automatically converted into simplified data visualizations. Every participant receives a report about questions relevant to him, while the administrator obtains a general overview. Ultimately, the goal of every survey is taking action, so interactive analysis is mostly focused on identifying areas that require improvement.

A factor that surely distinguishes Edurio from other survey-taking companies is the quality of their questions. They are all designed according to the principles of social science so that the participants are able to answer clearly and to-the-point. Moreover, the automatic data visualization tool takes the burden of analyzing countless Excel sheets off the administrator’s shoulders.

The concept of Edurio was born when Ernest Jenavs, the CEO, was doing research about student assessment and feedback at the University of Manchester. Jenavs comes from a strategy consulting background, where he advised companies on improvement and innovation. Janis Gribusts, the COO, has over 10 years of experience in the EdTech industry, including being the head of digital solutions at the largest education publisher in Latvia. Janis Strods, the third co-founder, is in charge of R&D and analytics at Edurio, bringing his experience both as a teacher and a mathematical modelling researcher.

Edurio was founded in 2014; only half a year later, it began pilot implementations in 20 schools in Latvia as well as in the Latvia’s Teach for All network. After successful pilots, the startup received 1.86 million euro in funding from the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Open Disruptive Innovation scheme for SMEs during the last summer.

Recently, Edurio’s been on a roll – they already have about 4000 active users, and their platform is present in over a third of Latvia’s schools. They have started an exciting mix of projects all around the world, including a cooperation with the UCL Institute of Education to further improve the quality of their surveys, as well as a collaboration with Oxford University Press. They also collaborate with the Latvian Ministry of Education on supporting school accreditation and implementing the national curriculum redesign. Last but not least, Edurio is present in South Africa – they are helping the Western Cape Education Department monitor the roll-out of its groundbreaking e-learning program. That’s the way to go!

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