News

Khan Academy to offer free, online SAT prep

College Board redesigns test to be more accessible, grounded in real-world college readiness

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.

Comments

22 people like this
Posted by bill1940
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:14 am

Super cool ! Without equal preparation for all students, the results of these tests border on meaningless. I personally prefer that the SAT's be eliminated as a significant part of University acceptance criteria.

Given the current "tutoring," I've my doubts that high SAT scores correlate with success for most students. And, they certainly do not measure either potential or creativity.


12 people like this
Posted by Ferdinand
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:26 am

Sal, you are an angel. Keep it coming please.


16 people like this
Posted by sad day for tutoring mills
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:34 am

This is a good and right thing to do. Bravo to Khan and the College Board.

Time will tell whether SAT prep has been the bread and butter paying rent for the many tutoring centers all over town. Didn't tutoring used to be used when a student needed to catch up, not race ahead?


7 people like this
Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:34 am

muttiallen is a registered user.

This is wonderful news! More good work from Khan Academy.


15 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:37 am

The next step will be to get Silicon Valley to start looking at resumes from schools other than Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, etc. There is a definite bias toward these schools. If you're going to level the playing field, this is another step in the right direction. Too many highly qualified grads are getting overlooked because of algorithms that kick out their resumes.


19 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 1:32 pm

@ 38 year: Did you know there are more San Jose State students employed in Silicon Valley than Stanford/Ivies? Not as big of a problem as perceived...


1 person likes this
Posted by High school mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

I wish this article included timing information.
The "new" SAT test is supposed to roll out next year for the incoming juniors.
WHEN will these prep materials be available to the students who will be guinea pigs for the new test?

Thanks, Khan Academy! You're terrific.


2 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm

I have liked the Khan Academy for some time. I hope this venture works.

It is long past time to provide educational vouchers to all of our children. Imagine that they could be placed in a school (by their parents) that centered its pedagogy on the Khan Academy (and other online sources)...and that discipline would be maintained...and very little homework...and plenty of free time.


5 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm

> and very little homework...and plenty of free time.

Really? Homework is where most of the real learning goes on. Can't think of one class that I ever took where I didn't learn more at home, than in class.


1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2015 at 3:05 pm

>Can't think of one class that I ever took where I didn't learn more at home, than in class.

My most interesting class in high school was a math class where no homework was given. It works...if it is structured properly.

With online learning, each student progresses at his/her own rate. The teacher is there as a coach and to maintain discipline (and maybe tell some funny stories, now and then).


4 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm

> My most interesting class in high school was a math class where no
> homework was given. It works...if it is structured properly.

Math class? Most high schools offer Algebra (I, II, Advanced), Trigonometry, Euclidean Geometry, Spacial/Spherical Geometry, Calculus and Statistics. Care to be a little more specific than just "math class"?

Not possible to sit in class (no matter how structured), and learn all of these topics and be prepared for STEM degree work in college.

And for those taking a foreign language--not possible to learn 3-5,000 vocabulary words sitting in class, either.


2 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2015 at 3:42 pm

@Crescent Park Dad...I'm sorry I missed the exceptions, San Jose State and Cal Poly. They produce some great engineers.


2 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Pre- calculus, to be specific. The teacher gave about a 10 minute lecture, then we did problem sets...he would respond to those who raised their hand (in a soft voice, on an individual basis, at their desks). It was my most productive class.

Seems to me that online learning (e.g. Khan Academy, etc.) would be good in learning other languages, too....lots of memorization, but one would go at an individual pace in the classroom.

I think homework would still be required in certain classes, like literature...need to read the book, before it can be discussed in class.


2 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 6:40 pm

No apology is needed! Though I apologize if you thought I implied that you had to apologize!

;-)


3 people like this
Posted by Julian
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2015 at 8:51 am

Sal, Thank you so much for not privatizing education. All the people who watch your videos, diligently will be known for their wit, erudition, intelligence.

- Julian Avila
International Baccalaureate


2 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 1:32 pm
"@ 38 year: Did you know there are more San Jose State students employed in Silicon Valley than Stanford/Ivies? Not as big of a problem as perceived..."

Thank you for this reminder. As a San Jose State grad, I am well aware of the constant Stanford publicity machine that insists the only high quality university around here is Stanford. I know graduates from U.C. Berkeley as well as Santa Clara University who have done exceeding well in Silicon Valley, but they don't have a constant publicity machine to condition the public, especially immigrants, to believe their institution is the "best." One thing I do know is that Stanford has far more money than any of these other institutions and it is true that money talks.

Back to the main post, I also thank Khan Academy for helping to level the playing ground and I do admire the clear thinking, creative Mr. Khan, who makes the world a better place.


Like this comment
Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2015 at 7:25 pm

stanhutchings is a registered user.

A wonderful contribution to college-bound and even those who would like a good education. I visited the site and saw a Donation button, which would be used instead of paying tutors, to ensure the further development of the Khan Academy SAT. Here's what it says. If you think Khan's effort is worthwhile, a donation would be a vote in its favor:

"Khan Academy is a small nonprofit with a BIG mission.
Thanks to our generous supporters, what started as one man tutoring his cousin has grown into an 80-person organization reaching over 20 million registered users. Our team passionately believes in inspiring the world to learn and proves a few individuals can make a big difference."


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Salt & Straw Palo Alto to open Nov. 23
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 3,406 views

Trials of My Grandmother
By Aldis Petriceks | 2 comments | 1,423 views

Lakes and Larders (part 2)
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,182 views

Can we ever improve our schools?
By Diana Diamond | 6 comments | 570 views