In order to create effective educational software, ed tech companies seek to bridge the gap between their products and the millions of students who stand to benefit from them. One such attempt to close this gap was initiated by the Office of Innovation at the New York City Department of Education, which created an educational innovation zone, or iZone. At least six states and 300 schools became a part of this program. Its “Gap App Challenge” initiative incentivized vendors to develop relationships directly with educators by competing to produce programs that might close a performance gap in middle school math.
After the success of the first Gap App challenge, iZone initiated the Short-Cycle Evaluation Challenge (SCEC) to evaluate the products created during the challenge based on three key criteria: for whom does the product work, when, and under what circumstances.