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Socrato Aims to Help Students Score Higher on Standardized Tests

Posted by Scott Kirsner  November 25, 2009 11:35 AM

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You may be spending today preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, or a gift-buying foray shortly afterward.

But if you have a high-schooler in the house, the preparation they're thinking about is for two important standardized tests looming in December: the SAT (December 5th) and the ACT (December 12th.)

Socrato, a North Andover-based start-up, hopes to build a business upon students' (and parents') desire to do well on those tests. "With students putting all this effort into preparing for the test, we want to help personalize their learning plan in a very efficient way," says founder and CEO Raju Gupta. Students practice taking the test, and then they or their tutors or teachers can get personalized advice from Socrato geared to boosting their scores. Socrato already offers analysis for the SAT and MCAS tests, as well as the U.S. Citizenship test; the ACT should be online soon, and Socrato eventually plans to expand into exams for securities brokers, realtors, firefighters, and other professions.

Individuals can use a basic version of Socrato for free; the company earns money by selling its analysis tool to schools and tutoring centers. Pricing for that starts at $10 per student assessment, and decreases with volume.

Gupta says the start-up has just four employees, and outsources most of its software development to firms in India and China. Socrato raised some angel funding in 2008.

Here's an earlier Globe piece on Socrato, and a TechCrunch profile.

Also worth mentioning in the local test-prep space is Stoneham-based Studypoint, founded ten years ago to help connect students with tutors.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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