The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded $175,000 to a consortium of Philadelphia groups so they can buy self-testing student software for high school drop outs and other low-income Philadelphians trying to learn skills online. More here.

The Levergage for Digital On-Ramps badging system, backed by the Urban Affairs Coalition; Pragmatic Solutions, a Los Angeles software firm; IBM; Philadelphia Academies Inc., run by Lisa Nutter, whose husband is mayor of Philadelphia; the city; Drexel University; and the Philadelphia Youth Network, won the grant, which was one of 50 (mostly smaller) grants awarded March 1; the grant was announced locally by the On-Ramps group today. Technically Philly article here.

The grant money will mostly be paid to Pragmatic Solutions to put the system together, Monica Steigerwald, director of fund development for the group, told me. She thanked Joe Warner's 2010 Solutions in West Chester for helping set up the software.