PowerSchool just latest Pearson buy

Pearson School Systems’ purchase of Apple’s PowerSchool is just the latest in a long list of deals for its parent company, British media giant Pearson PLC. Over the last eight years, Pearson PLC–which owns the Financial Times and Penguin Books, among many other businesses–has steadily acquired a number of U.S. education companies and ed-tech firms. Here are some highlights of Pearson’s aggressive growth:

1998: Pearson Education is created from the merger of Addison-Wesley Longman and the educational businesses of Simon & Schuster. In acquiring the educational holdings of Simon & Schuster for $4.6 billion, Pearson also assumed control of Computer Curriculum Corp. (publisher of the SuccessMaker software), which had been owned by that firm.

2000: Pearson acquires Minnesota-based National Computer Systems (NCS), the largest educational testing and data management company in the U.S., for $2.4 billion. Brought into Pearson Education as NCS Pearson, the company becomes the focal point for Pearson’s professed efforts to integrate the home and school, personalize courses, and link curriculum, assessment, and testing.

2002: Pearson Education acquires DDC Publishing, a provider of software training titles to the high school and post-secondary markets. “This purchase helps meet a growing need in the secondary market for [high-] quality technology textbooks, multimedia CD-ROMs, and lessons designed for students and teachers in grades K-12,” said the company’s Marty Smith at the time of the announcement. The addition of DDC Publishing accelerates Pearson imprint Prentice Hall School’s entry into the software training market and nearly doubles the number of products it has to offer.

2003: Pearson Education acquires LessonLab, a pioneer in education research and state-of-the-art technologies for teaching and professional development.

2003: Pearson Education acquires Scholar Inc., which provides comprehensive data management tools and solutions designed for the U.S. K-12 education market. The company’s Scholar Suite web-based data management system allows school, district, and state administrators to work with student performance results from more than 140 different tests, in compliance with federal mandates established by the No Child Left Behind Act.

2004: Pearson School Systems acquires altonaEd, creator of the School Information & Performance System (SiPs). The acquisition supports Pearson Education’s strategy to enable educators to use student information to assess students, diagnose achievement gaps, and prescribe instructional strategies to close those gaps at the district, school, classroom, and student levels, the company said.

2005: Pearson acquires AGS Publishing from WRC Media for $270 million. The deal enables Pearson to strengthen its position in testing and publishing for students with special educational needs.

2006: Pearson acquires Promissor, a professional testing business, from Houghton Mifflin for $42 million in cash. Promissor provides licensing examinations for state and federal regulatory bodies in the U.S.

2006 Pearson acquires Effective Educational Technologies, a privately held company based in Cambridge, Mass., that developed the next-generation online assessment and tutorial programs MasteringPhysics, MasteringGeneralChemistry, and MasteringAstronomy.

2006: Pearson acquires National Evaluation Systems Inc. (NES), a leading provider of customized state assessments for teacher certification in the U.S. It works under contract with state education agencies, developing and administering licensure tests for prospective teachers who want to enter the profession, teach a new subject, or work in a new state.

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