Testing Is Biggest Moneymaker for Education Technology Vendors

computer keyboard test key

Software vendors and publishers raked in $2.5 billion on digital assessment products in the United States in the 2012-2013 school year, according to estimates released this week by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA). The total market for software and content in U.S. preK-12 education was up by $480 million to $8.38 billion.

The report, the U.S. Education Technology Market: PreK-12, covers only non-hardware sales (content, applications and related services). SIIA's figures are based on a survey of 144 education technology vendors in 2014 (covering school year 2012-2013), which represented roughly 39.4 percent of the total ed tech software market (in terms of revenues) and 16.8 percent of the ed tech vendor universe.

The researchers found that the largest single segment was content, at 39 percent of revenues for the period covered in the report ($3.3 billion), with language arts the largest academic subject, followed by math. That represented a decrease of 1.9 percent from the previous year.

Instructional support came in second at $3.2 billion (38 percent), a decline of 2.4 percent from the previous year.

Enterprise management filled out the rest of the ed tech pie at 23 percent — roughly $1.9 billion, an increase of 40 percent over the previous year. According to SIIA, that increase was largely attributable to investments in infrastructure.

The researchers noted that the largest single category within any segment was assessment, at about $2.5 billion —  an increase of 15.5 percent over the previous year and 57 percent over 2010-2011.

"The rapid growth of the testing and assessment market will slow but remain an important area of investment in school districts and states," said Principal Author John Richards, president of CS4Ed in a statement released to coincide with the report. "Digital assessments and interest in personalized learning contribute to this growing market. There was a substantial investment in infrastructure. We attribute this to increased hardware in schools from district investment, BYOD and preparation for digital common core assessments."

Other findings included:

  • Online course revenues grew 320 percent in 2014; and
  • Every category in the content segment was down except revenue from online courses.

An executive summary of the report is available to the public on SIIA's site. The full report runs $750 for SIIA members, $1,500 for non-members.


About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).