Mission statement

Lectica's nonprofit mission is to support robust learning by developing and delivering learning tools that support the development of the skills and concepts we all need to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Our aims are threefold: (1) to provide free high-quality, evidence-based developmental learning tools to individual K-12 educators, (2) to advance this work by offering related research and assessment services to clients in the private and public sectors, and (3) to build knowledge about learning and its role in the future of society.

Lectica employs a research methodology called developmental maieutics, which is grounded in over 100 years of cognitive-developmental theory and research—most recently, Harvard professor Kurt Fischer's Dynamic Skill Theory. The methods of developmental maieutics are employed to document how people learn specific concepts and skills over time. The results inform the design of a new form of standardized assessment—the Lectical Assessment—that both evaluates and supports learning. Unlike conventional standardized assessments, which primarily compare and classify learners, Lectical Assessments help educators determine what individual students are most likely to benefit from learning next.

The K-12 department of Lectica—DiscoTest®—focuses on the design and delivery of high-quality formative assessments focused on a wide range of concepts and topics. Each DiscoTest is calibrated to the dynamic skill scale (Lectical® Scale)—a universal developmental "ruler," making it possible to track student learning over time in multiple subject areas. Cumulative results track the learning of individual students and provide a reliable and standardized longitudinal record of the performance of schools and districts (the DiscoTest report card). Additionally, because the items on Lectical Assessments require written responses, the answers are a rich source of data that can be used by researchers to refine our understanding of student learning.

Each DiscoTest is based on evidence that is gathered primarily through partnerships with schools and academic researchers that are conducting program evaluations or basic research. Because Lectica makes extensive use of internet, databasing, and psychometric technologies to conduct research and deliver assessments, we maintain a high level of expertise in these areas.

Lectica also focuses on workplace and college-level learning. We offer a range of Lectical Assessments for adults and partner with academic researchers to conduct research and design new assessments. Several of our assessments span childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, making them appropriate for life-span research. Our for-profit subsidiary, The Developmental Testing Service, LLC, provides assessments to the private sector. All profits are used to fund our non-profit activities.

In 2016, Lectica introduced the world's first electronic developmental assessment system, CLAS, as part of a free demonstration of the LRJA (our reflective judgment assessment).

Lectica's initial funding came from Dr. Theo L. Dawson, who, in 2004, established Lectica's predecessor, the original Developmental Testing Service, LLC. From 2004 through 2009, she and her colleagues developed the infrastructure and initial assessments for Lectica, including the first DiscoTests. We are currently supported by research partnerships, public and private sector contracts, and donations.

Lectica, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit registered in the state of Massachusetts. 

All donations along with all net income from for-profit use of Lectica's products, programs, and services are used to fund our nonprofit mission. These funds make it possible to provide the free resources that are available through our website and Dr. Dawson's blog.

To see a breakdown of Lectica's annual budget, please review Lectica's annual report on file with the state of Massachusetts by searching for AG Account Number: 051311 from the Massachusetts Non-Profits & Charities Document Search page.

Selected funders

IES (US Department of Education)

The Spencer Foundation


Dr. Sharon Solloway

The Simpson Foundation

The Leopold Foundation

Donor list

Selected clients

Glastonbury School District, CT

The Ross School

Rainbow Community School

The Study School

Long Trail School

The US Naval Academy

The City of Edmonton, Alberta

The US Federal Government

Advisory Board

Antonio Battro, MD, Ph.D., One Laptop Per Child

Marc Schwartz, Ph.D. and former high school teacher, University of Texas at Arlington

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., University of Southern California

Willis Overton, Ph.D., Temple University, Emeritus