Mountain View-based online education company Khan Academy is hoping to disrupt yet another traditional educational platform by offering free, personalized SAT prep online.
Through a new partnership with the creator of the SAT, the College Board, any high school student is now able to access four official-length practice tests, short diagnostic quizzes, test-taking tips, video lessons and interactive feedback at khanacademy.com. The two education companies are hoping that free preparation for a test so linked to a student's resources and future will help level the college admissions playing field.
Prices for some one-on-one SAT tutoring options in the Palo Alto area include $130 per hour, $250 for two hours and $990 for 18 hours of class time. The Princeton Review offers SAT prep packages that start at $499 and go up to $1,599.
"Our goal is nothing short of leveling the playing field, and we intend, with the deep expertise of the College Board behind us, to make the very best preparation for the SAT," Khan Academy stated in a press release. "This will be far more than just videos; it will be sophisticated, interactive software to give students deep practice and diagnose their gaps."
Khan Academy, which is known for its mission to provide a "free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere" through vast offerings of videos on everything from computer programming to art history, created an SAT "personalization platform" that will adapt to the user while he or she is taking practice tests, founder Sal Khan explained in a video announcing the partnership. This will help students pinpoint their areas of weakness so "they can advance in the best possible way," he said.
"This means that for the first time ever, all students who want to go to college can prepare for the SAT at their own pace, at absolutely no cost," the company's press release reads. "Unlike other test prep, the resources on Khan Academy will be developed through a close collaboration with the authors of the SAT themselves. With this partnership, our goal is to ensure that students have a deep grasp of underlying fundamentals so they can succeed on the SAT, in college, and beyond."
The new partnership with Khan Academy runs parallel to the College Board's redesign of the SAT to make the test more geared toward true college readiness, rather than rote memorization and those with the resources to pay for expensive outside test help. Students will no longer be penalized for wrong answers, vocabulary will be less obscure, questions will be more "grounded in the real world and directly related to the work performed in college and career" and math will be more about critical thinking and problem solving, according to the College Board.
In the essay portion, which is now optional, students will be asked to read a passage and explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience, a task that "more closely mirrors college writing assignments," the company's website reads.