Cherry Tree advises FastBridge Learning in its sale to Illuminate Education

​Illuminate Education Joins Forces with FastBridge Learning, Accelerating Shared Mission to Support the Whole Child

Acquisition unites proven assessments, assessment platforms, data analytics, intuitive reporting, curated item banks and pre-built assessments, and support services
Illuminate Education, the leading K-12 student performance system, has acquired FastBridge Learning, a research-driven assessment platform that transforms the way teachers measure and monitor student progress. Together, the companies comprise educator-driven Illuminate Education. The company provides effective formative assessments and assessment platforms, data that informs instruction, and the ability for educators to build strong systems of support within their districts.

The combination formalizes a long-time partnership between Illuminate Education and FastBridge Learning, aligning the technology, people, and processes required to support the whole child through data and a tiered instructional model.

“FastBridge Learning has a remarkable history of adding research-driven innovation to assessments while consistently providing exceptional attention to districts,” said Christine Willig, CEO of Illuminate Education. “They share our enthusiasm for sustainable MTSS, support for educators, open standards and interoperable solutions. We welcome FastBridge to the Illuminate family.”

Nearly one year ago, Illuminate Education transformed the assessment space and took a giant step toward its vision of supporting educators by providing “a holistic view of the child on a single pane of glass” when it merged five companies serving approximately 15 million K-12 students. The FastBridge Learning acquisition puts the finishing piece in place to realize Illuminate Education’s vision to simplify formative assessments for teachers, saving them time and guiding them through evidence-based student instruction and data-driven intervention. These capabilities empower educators in understanding the unique needs of each student, equipping them with the tools needed to serve the whole child.

“This past school year has demonstrated to us the power and benefit of using solutions from both FastBridge Learning and Illuminate Education,” said Crystal Steinmetz, Director of Curriculum and Assessment at Garden City Public Schools USD #457. “The amount of time spent collecting data has been drastically reduced which allows our teachers more time to analyze student performance, collaborate with other professionals and collectively develop a plan of support for students. The prospect of further innovations fueled by deeper integration between the companies is exciting news for Garden City Public Schools. We look forward to the opportunity to use the combined solution for years to come.”

Founded in 2015, FastBridge Learning was invented by Dr. Theodore J. Christ and Dr. Zoheb Borbora, with scholarly contributions from leading educational researchers from the University of Minnesota and colleges of education around the country. The organization, serving nearly 2 million educators and students across 45 states, including a statewide implementation in Iowa, is committed to building knowledge and improving educational assessments. Its Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST™) is the only K-12 solution that combines Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM) and Computer-Adaptive Testing (CAT) for reading, math and social-emotional behavior.

“Through this collaboration with Illuminate Education, we’re able to extend the reach of our research-driven innovation model, accelerating our mission to transform the way educators assess and address the learning needs of students,” said Terri Soutor, CEO of FastBridge Learning. “Together, we’ll bring broadened capabilities to support a district’s sustainable, successful tiered instructional model, enabling greater educator and student success.”

To learn more about Illuminate Education, please visit

About Illuminate Education
Illuminate Education is the leading provider of integrated K–12 technology systems. Illuminate’s innovative tools bridge the gap between instruction, assessment, and data analytics, transforming the potential of teaching and learning. With all the data available within a single platform, teachers can assess learning and link to the right resources, while district leaders can receive a holistic view of students. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Illuminate’s team of experienced educators and technology specialists serve 15 million students across all 50 states.

About FastBridge Learning
FastBridge Learning is the brainchild of the leading educational researchers in the country, including those from the University of Minnesota — the birthplace of CBM and CAT methodologies. At FastBridge Learning, we believe teachers deserve the best tools to help students stay on track, and we strive to transform the way teachers assess and address the learning needs of students by providing one simple solution for faster results that are proven effective. To learn more, visit

Illuminate Education

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