When Colorado adopted a new set of standardized tests known as PARCC, the leadership teams of the Durango and Bayfield school districts joined together to create a new tool called SchoolVault, designed to help both teachers and students have access to the materials they need to succeed.

Our promise

Delivering quality

SchoolVault allows teachers to create and share student assessments and monitor their progress throughout the year. Students get the opportunity to preview the environment they’ll be in when they sit down to take the tests. When investing public money, school administrators need to work conscientiously to find technology vendors that complete projects on time and on budget. Our proven track record of doing just that was a perfect fit.


The challenge

Projects like SchoolVault are about conquering complexity. Truly understanding the intricate requirements was essential to creating the best solution. To ensure we were on the right path, we began with a process we call a “blueprinting workshop” — gathering the team and client in a room for a multi-day exploration of the entire concept. The highly technical details of grading, academic standards, and student assessments needed to be understood by all involved.

The solution

Designing a system that can be used by both teachers and students, each with significantly varying levels of technical proficiency, is difficult on its own. When paired with as many possible workflows and combinations as were required for SchoolVault, we had our work cut out for us.

To overcome the user experience challenges, we iterated through countless wireframes and prototype designs, integrating user testing every step of the way. The result is a highly usable interface that makes the complexity of the subject matter digestible, while at the same time helps to prepare students for the environment they will find themselves in when they sit down to take the assessment.


Tech chops

SchoolVault is a web app filled with rich client-side interactions, built using Ruby on Rails and the Backbone JavaScript library. Both teachers and students can login securely over SSL from any modern browser. The SchoolVault team used Agile methodology to remain focused as features were delivered, week after week.

At Foraker Labs, we believe that more usable software can change people’s lives for the better. By empowering teachers and students with SchoolVault, we’ve set out to do just that.

Hunter Hillegas, Director of Technology

The result

We’re proud of what we’ve built with SchoolVault. It’s software for the classroom we’d want our own kids to use. We plan to continue to support it as it’s evaluated and adopted along with PARCC by more schools.

Key technologies

Ruby on Rails · Postgresql · Backbone.js · Amazon Web Services

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