Ah the Leaving Cert, the state exam billed as the most important written test any of us will take. The one that will decide our futures, what college we will go to and what jobs we will work until the day we retire, well so we are told anyway. For me the Leaving Cert was a complete and utter mess. I tanked the exams in epic style ending up with my tenth choice on my CAO form. For what it’s worth I wanted to do Human Genetics but ended up doing Product Design…a bit different but all’s well that ends well. Anyway, you can imagine my excitement when I flicked through this years companies picked up by the Google Adopt a Startup and I see a Limerick based, tech solution who aim to improve the grinds system for Junior & Leaving Cert students. For those of you who don’t know Limerick is a hotbed for startup companies right now and jumpAgrade are just another example of an amazing solution to a problem we didn’t even know existed.

So what is jumpAgrade?

jumpAgrade is an online grinds platform aimed at second level students over the age of 13. The goal is to give students practice questions and personalised feedback to help improve their grades. They have a team of hand selected tutors across every topic ready to help with any subject at Higher or Ordinary level. As a company they are aware that each student learns differently and it’s difficult for teachers to tailor a plan specifically for each student. That’s where jumpAgrade comes in.
 
Remember the grinds you did back in the day? 5,10,15 of ye sat in a classroom with a young teacher looking to earn a couple extra pounds doing the same coursework. Even if that’s not the area you are having problems with. It’s exactly this scenario that jumpAgrade are going up against.

How does it work?

When a student starts their study journey they will complete a “needs analysis”. Using the results from this, the team of handpicked tutors assess the specific challenges facing a student (example if someone is weak on Geometry) and create personalised worksheets for each individual student on a weekly basis.
 
When a student completes the worksheets all they need to do is take a picture on their phone, upload it and wait two days for feedback. Again which is personalised to cater for each student. Speaking from experience Irish and German weren’t my thing in school, it was boring and because I was at the lower end of the class, teachers generally ignored me. There was a day in fifth year I was told ” You should probably drop to pass, I can’t help you” to which the response from a cheeky git came “Well you never really tried”. I can see why someone who might be at the lower to mid end of a class would see a benefit from having help that it built to help them on an individual level. God knows some of us need it.
Speaking on that Irish class story and I remember doing a grind or two and I noticed that there is always one person in the class looking to make sure they get that A1 so it’s not like jumpAgrade couldn’t help these kids hit their maximum potential too.

The personal touch

It is that personal touch and attention that makes a difference to students. Studies have shown this extra attention can make a student feel more confident in their ability to take exams. Couple this with learning in a manner tailored to suit that students needs and you have something with a real benefit to anyone sitting exams. As we all know it’s near on impossible for teacher to give this level of attention to 30+ students in each class, jumpAgrade are filling that gap.

“By applying cutting-edge machine learning, we can observe trends in students’ learning patterns to provide insights to educators about how to tailor teaching methods to suit different learning styles. It’s 21st-century learning for 21st-century students.” Ethan O’Brien -CoFouder

The platform also offers parents a dashboard which lets them see how the feedback is helping their child progress. It works in all web browsers and on all devices so no installations are necessary.

Pricing

The pricing to be fair is very reasonable and comparable to traditional grinds with each subject costing €25 per week for the core service but they also offer a 20% discount to anyone doing multiple subjects. Any parent reading this will want to know, what bang do I get for my buck? well here is what the core service gives:

  • Detailed personalised feedback
  • Free one week trial
  • Maximum convenince online, meaning no more scheduling and no more travelling to grinds
  • Expert tutors across all subjects
  • SMS and email notifications
  • Parents CC’d in emails so they can see the progress too
  • Pause your subscription anytime
  • Exam focused worksheets which lead to reduced stress in the real exam

A new generation of students

Image result for tech savvy students

I’ve said it before and will say it again, the education system today is out of tune with the students it’s trying to help. We have seen in recent times calls to ban smartphones from schools. We still use expensive paper books that need to be replaced annually rather than simply using a tablet and online learning resources or downloadable PDF’s and other not so modern technologies. jumpAgrade is challenging the tradition a bit by tapping into how the generation actually behave. As they said themselves it’s 21st Century learning for 21st Century students. We forget this might be the first generation who have had access to Google at their fingertips at all times. Things like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, smartphones and the internet in general are underused resources in our education system and these are the exact tools that we can use, like jumpAgrade help each student on an individual basis. Technological disruption is set to fundamentally change the way we look at our educational system and now with the brilliant backing from the Google Adopt a Startup program, jumpAgrade could well be at the forefront.

We’re really excited about working with Google on the Adopt a Startup programme. It’s great for us as a Limerick company to be recognised at this level – it’s a real testament to our ambitions but also the growing number of exciting startups coming out of Limerick.” – David Neville Co-Founder

We know there is a lot of pressure to get the results you want in the Leaving and Junior Certs. If you or anyone you know is sitting the state exams this year and could do with a helping hand, then get onto the lads in jumpAgrade. Why not give the one week trial a shot…. it might just be the difference you need.

Whoa there! While We have you…