The fabulous destiny of LIST Spin-off OAT

Published on 09/06/2023

Launched in 2013 to market the TAO software developed by LIST, Open Assessment Technologies S.A. (OAT) has just been acquired by Japanese company Uchida Yoko Co. LTD.

Now a market leader in assessment innovation, OAT initially developed an open-source digital assessment solution for education and career advancement (called TAO) in LIST.

A market leader in assessment innovation

OAT is the publisher of TAO, the leading open source assessment platform in the public education sector. The company works with education and assessment professionals around the world using a highly scalable, robust and secure platform.

In 2007, the OECD chose LIST and its computer-assisted testing solution to conduct the PISA study (Programme for International Student Assessment). A year later, the solution was used for PIAAC (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies). In 2013, OAT was launched as a company, receiving support from CITO, one of the world's leading testing and assessment companies, and LIST. This support allowed the team to accelerate product development and offer commercial services worldwide.

With users in 194 countries, TAO has delivered over 100 million in more than 30 languages tests worldwide. Since 2020, the solution has been the official digital assessment solution for the Japanese Ministry of Educations national computer-based testing program, used in approximately 25,000 schools by 8,400,000 students from elementary to high school across all prefectures.

From business creation to industrial collaboration

Initially, the concept of computer-based, flexible and free adaptive tests, based on web technologies, came from researchers at LIST and the University of Luxembourg. It was at LIST that the first prototype of TAO was launched. With the TAO Prototype having reached an operational technological level, LIST approached Marc Oswald, a visionary entrepreneur, to define its business strategy. OAT S.A. was subsequently created after extensive coordination between the stakeholders.

Besides LIST, the founders of OAT S.A. include Marc Oswald, Thibaud Latour and Patrick Plichart, the latter two being the main TAO designers at LIST, and Romain Martin, then Professor at the University of Luxembourg. Since then, Marc Oswald has become CEO of OAT and Patrick Plichart Director of Product of OAT. As for Thibaud Latour, he was OAT's scientific advisor before getting back to research at LIST. Up until the current acquisition by Uchida Yoko Co. LTD, LIST remained OAT's main shareholder, alongside two new investors, CITO BV and ACT.

Business creation is above all a matter of people and energy. LIST is proud to have succeeded in innovating by releasing the energy and talent needed throughout the various stages of this exciting story, which began within LIST and is now gaining new momentum.

The relationship between LIST and OAT is to be continued through collaboration in the field of research, development, and technological innovation with its industrial partners.

Find out more about OAT.

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