Capti Wins a $1M Grant to Bring ETS Reading Assessments to Market
Students reading in the library

“Nearly two-thirds of K–12 students are not reading at grade level, which is a huge barrier, especially for the socially disadvantaged.” said Dr. Yevgen Borodin, CEO of Capti. “We are thrilled to be working with ETS and IES on an innovative product that will help students become better readers.”

Capti®, an ETS Strategic Capital portfolio company, today announced a $1 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences® (IES) to Capti and an ETS literacy research team. The award will support Capti and ETS in fully developing a suite of diagnostic reading assessments for use in schools, including the diagnostic ETS ReadBasix™ and ETS ReadAuthentix™ as part of Capti Assess — a next-generation reading assessment platform for students in grades 3 to 12. The award follows a $200K award in 2021 to develop a prototype the reading assessments.

“After almost two years of interrupted instruction, nearly two-thirds of K–12 students are not reading at a proficient level according to NAEP, which is a huge barrier, especially for those who are socially disadvantaged,” said Dr. Yevgen Borodin, CEO of Capti. “We are thrilled to be able to work with ETS and IES on this innovative product that will empower teachers to help their students become better readers.”

In the 21st century, many aspects of education have changed: how we learn to read, how we develop proficiency across the years of our schooling, what we read and how we read. These changes redefined the construct of “reading comprehension.” Research has also advanced our understanding of the science behind reading for comprehension. However, the design of most reading assessments used in U.S. schools has not evolved sufficiently to reflect these changes.

To address the need to improve reading assessments, in 2010 IES funded a $115 million Reading for Understanding (RfU) initiative. The RfU brought together researchers to develop new methods for assessing and improving reading. Products that resulted from the RfU under the Assessment strand of the initiative (R305F100005) were ReadBasix and ReadAuthentix assessments developed by ETS researchers.

“This work is a shining example of how public grant funding can be utilized to support innovative research and business partnerships to produce a product that meets the needs of underserved students,” said Colleen Caulfield, Executive Director, Business Development, ETS. “Together with Capti, we are proud to do our part to help to close the literacy gap exasperated by the pandemic by providing cutting edge educational resources to help students in need around our country.”

Leveraging the outcomes of RfU, ETS has supported Capti in successfully bringing to market its Capti Assess product with ReadBasix, a diagnostic assessment of foundational skills and basic reading comprehension. As part of the new SBIR Project, Capti will integrate ReadAuthentix, a unique scenario-based assessment of deep reading comprehension. Capti will use AI to integrate the results of multiple assessments into a single adaptive solution that will enable teachers to personalize reading assessment and focus on the skills that matter most.

At Capti, co-founders Dr. Yury Puzis (principal investigator and COO) and Dr. Yevgen Borodin (R&D Director and CEO) will lead the project; Brian Ash will provide product support. At ETS, researchers Zuowei Wang (principal investigator), Kelly Bruce, Jonathan Weeks and Tenaha O’Reilly will lead research efforts to deliver this grant; Laura Hullinger and John Kochanski will provide business support.

About Capti

Capti (Charmtech Labs LLC) is an Education Technology company, based in Buffalo, N.Y. Capti is a portfolio company of ETS, LearnLaunch Accelerator and ARC Capital Development. Capti’s mission is to improve reading for students of all abilities. Its products are helping educators to assess, advance and accommodate reading for their students. Capti has been recognized with several awards by the NSF, NIH, NIDILRR, IES, Federal Communications Commission, MIT Technology Review, EdTech Digest, etc.

About ETS Strategic Capital

ETS Strategic Capital serves as the private equity investment and M&A execution arm for ETS, its subsidiaries and its partners sourcing transactions within both the domestic United States and internationally. The unit partners with the broader EdTech ecosystem to identify and execute deals, coordinate with other ETS business units to identify opportunities and needs, network with professional services firms with education expertise, and build direct relationships with businesses internationally — especially within Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa (MENA) regions. ETS Strategic Capital targets private equity investments that are typically in Series B, C or later; acquisitions that are middle-market in scale; and growth partnerships that may involve joint ventures (JVs), channel-affiliate or distribution agreements, Intellectual Property (IP) licensing and technology-transfer relationships.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English- language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

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