PowerSchool’s Next Power Play: Acquiring Interactive Achievement

PowerSchool’s Next Power Play: Acquiring Interactive Achievement


PowerSchool is making more power plays. The developer behind the most widely-used student information system (SIS) in the K-12 market is acquiring Interactive Achievement, a Roanoke, VA-based developer of formative assessment and reporting tools.

Terms of the deal were not announced. For PowerSchool, the acquisition marks the latest step in the company’s “opportunistic” desire to “grow more aggressively to create a holistic platform for K-12 that extends beyond just SIS capabilities,” according to Oliver Wreford, Vice President of Product and Marketing.

Founded in 2006, Interactive Achievement serves roughly 800,000 users across 13 states including Virginia, where it claims customers in 85 percent of districts. One of Interactive Achievement’s most widely-used tools is onTRAC, which lets teachers create, distribute and gather data from online or print assessments.

The deal offers “a great opportunity to couple formative assessment and analytics with the SIS, and deliver it to PowerSchool clients and the K-12 market at large,” explains Wreford. Today, more than 100 schools and districts use services provided by both companies. PowerSchools plans to grow the staff of 80 currently working at Interactive Achievement as it integrates services from the two companies. (Wreford also pledges that Powerschool will keep supporting Interactive Achievement customers who use other SIS providers.)

Expect PowerSchool to play the role of a strategic acquirer in the coming years. “We see a lot of startups that have a lot of cool concepts, but they’re having trouble scaling because the buying cycle and processes are long and complicated,” observes Wreford. “That creates opportunities for buyers.” In November 2015, PowerSchool bought InfoSnap, which provides digital enrollment and school registration tools.

Wreford says PowerSchool can lay claim to over 40 million users in more than 70 countries--and he still sees plenty of opportunities for growth. The SIS, after all, is the central hub that stores and reports data on education-related services, including enrollments, meals, transportation and health, along with assessments and grades.

“Clearly, we’re taking a more aggressive strategy in being able to directly deliver deep integrations [with other services] and create a seamless experience for the end customer,” Wreford says.

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