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Sunday, Jun 16, 2024

Enterprise—EdVISION programs measuring up to educators’ needs

William Tudor doesn’t expect his company to be the next Microsoft, nor does he want it to be. He is a respected and successful businessman in his own right, having started and sold several businesses. But Tudor, CEO of EdVISION.com Corp., said he measures success by the difference his company makes to students, not year-end revenues.

EdVISION.com, formerly Tudor Publishing, was founded 10 years ago by Tudor and chief technical officer John O’Hair. The company made $10 million in sales in the fiscal year ended June 30, and $5 million the previous year. Sales expectations this year are set at $20 million. But there are other numbers more important to Tudor.

Raising Test Scores

Tudor played a videotaped newscast of a fourth-grade class in Alabama that had quadrupled its state-mandated test scores in one year using EdVISION’s grade level evaluation software. Locally, schools in the Lemon Grove School District increased as many as 104 points on the academic performance index scale using similar software, according to Dr. Lean King, the district’s superintendent. Those numbers are important, according to Tudor, because he said they show positive results of the curriculum products offered by his company. “If we align what we teach with what we’re expected to teach by the state, we know our children will improve,” King said.

King was introduced to the company’s software program while employed by the Escondido Union School District. At the time, it was a stand-alone software package at a single workstation. Now, he said, the system is on a network and can be run from school to school. “It assists in the alignment process,” he said. “To align local standards with state standards probably is one of the strongest things a school can do to raise achievement.”

Educational Tool

EdVISION.com offers computer-aided curriculum software to assist administrators, teachers and parents of students from kindergarten through high school in raising academic standards. The sole purpose of the company, according to the owner, is to pinpoint areas of difficulties for students and map out a plan to help alleviate those difficulties. More than 1,500 schools in 42 states use the company’s software to determine which students need what kind of assistance. EdVISION’s assessment products like Curriculum Designer and Skills Connection testing software do just that. Their database is aligned with each state’s content standards, test objectives, national standards and standardized test objectives. Curriculum Designer builds a blueprint of all the objectives schools should teach to prepare students for state required tests. Skills Connection generates custom tests and home study materials that are created based on each student’s need.

Online Services Offered

Online Services Offered

EdVISION also offers an online reading placement exam and two free online services, one of which is a home tutoring site (Home2School.com) for parents to freshen up on their academic skills and help students at home. Tudor said he started the business because he saw a difference in educational systems across the country. For example, he said, a fourth-grade teacher in one school may teach certain skills he feels are suitable for students at that grade level. But a fifth-grade teacher at the same school may have different expectations of what a fourth-grader should know before advancing. Because those teachers are not on the same page, Tudor said, a student could fall through the cracks , but not at the fault of the teacher.

“We are saying, wouldn’t it better to have a tool to (allow teachers) to collaborate better with other teachers in school and make decisions on who should be teaching what?” Tudor said. With the Internet and computer use rapidly increasing, many believe this type of technology will replace some traditional aspects of education, such as lengthy lesson planning.

Managing Standards

“The software gives teachers and principals the capability of managing the hundreds of state standards and reducing them down to a manageable system,” said Lemon Grove’s King. “(It allows us) to be able to have a working understanding of what it is we should be teaching and how well the children are doing on their specific standards that are expected.” That’s not to say textbooks will no longer be used in classrooms, but many believe they will be used less. “Because of learning styles, I think educational software is going to be a big boon in improving students,” Tudor said. “All kids don’t learn well in classrooms in lecture style. The computer is just one more tool to help students.” EdVISION’s software is used in several local school districts besides Lemon Grove, including Poway, Vista, Valley Center and Escondido. One way the company is certain the software they release is suitable for schools is by hiring people who have had an inside look at how the education system works. More than half of the company’s San Diego employees are certified teachers, many with master’s degrees. They are in charge of content.

Computer Experience

Tudor is no stranger to the computer business. He’s been involved in the field since 1968, when he was a programmer/systems analyst for an accounting firm. It wasn’t until 1985, and 90 days into a short-lived retirement, when he bought a business that specialized in computer systems. Computer Management Corp. specialized in software for legal time and billing. He sold that business four years later in a merger with Barrister Information Systems of New York, and in 1990 started Tudor Publishing. Ten years and a name change later, Tudor said he had no idea the business would grow as it did. Eighteen months ago the company had 40 employees. Now there are 85, and there are plans to move to a larger office. Sales revenues seem to double each year. Tudor credits that growth to the new products, more salespeople and acceptance of the products around the country. He doesn’t take the credit for the success measured in schools that use his products. “If you sell a hammer to someone and they build a house, you don’t take credit for building the house,” Tudor said. “We sell a tool. The person that gets credit for the success of students should be the schools, the principals and the teachers, not us.”


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