February 26, 2021

Apollo Group to Buy Maker of Math Courses

Hoping to keep more of its students from dropping out, the Apollo Group, which operates the profit-making University of Phoenix, said Tuesday that it would pay $75 million to buy Carnegie Learning, which offers computer-based math instruction.

Carnegie Learning, based in Pittsburgh, was founded in 1998 by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University who developed an approach to teaching math that combines classroom work with computer instruction. Its Cognitive Tutor software analyzes students’ weaknesses as they work through problems and offers new problems until they are ready to move on.

“Math is a subject where we see a lot of students having difficulty” at the college level, said Gregory W. Cappelli, Apollo’s co-chief executive. “We think by adding the Carnegie Learning solution into our platform, we’ll really help our students to have better outcomes in math.”

Carnegie Learning is one of a number of small- to medium-size companies that offer instructional material for use on computers and tablets and data analysis for schools, a market that has piqued investors’ interest in the past year. It says its curricula is used by 600,000 students in grades 6 through 12, in 3,000 schools nationwide.

Dennis Ciccone, Carnegie Learning’s chief executive, said sales had increased 20 to 30 percent annually since 2005, although they have slowed this year with the economy. Apollo plans to adapt the Carnegie Learning software for other academic subjects and use it both in traditional classrooms and with online students.

Profit-making colleges like the University of Phoenix have been the focus of government scrutiny in recent years, accused of aggressively recruiting students, especially online students, but saddling them with unmanageable debt and few marketable skills. In June the Education Department tightened regulations, though not as strictly as industry critics had advocated.

Although enrollment at the 400,000-student University of Phoenix has fallen sharply, Apollo’s stock hit a 52-week high last month after the release of quarterly results in June that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d2bcd94cf2787c181f3adfac29f1c21d

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