News » Business » US Dept. of Education awards $3 million contract to study Khan Academy’s effect on community college students’ algebra scores

US Dept. of Education awards $3 million contract to study Khan Academy’s effect on community college students’ algebra scores

Research agency WestEd to survey 2015-2016 school year.

By The American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: The impeccable credentials and worthiness of the Khan Academy, the revolutionary non-profit online educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan – which by 2013 was used by about 10 million students per month, and its micro lectures watched over 458 million times – is now going to be scrutinized by the US Department of Education, to see how effective it really is in helping students in community colleges succeed in math courses.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $3 million grant to research agency WestEd’s STEM program for the study, according to a release issued by WestEd.

“Until now, there has never been a rigorous, large-scale efficacy study of Khan Academy, in community colleges or in K-12 settings,” says Steve Schneider, director of WestEd’s STEM program.

The study, which will take place during the 2015-2016 school year, will measure whether Khan Academy makes a difference in Algebra I courses in California community colleges through a randomized controlled trial.

This spring, research institution SRI International published a report, funded by the Gates Foundation, on how schools used Khan Academy in math classes. Although educators voiced challenges integrating the online material into their curricula, the study largely reported positive results from supplementing in-person learning with Khan Academy. Direct effects on student outcomes, however, were inconclusive.

The founder of Khan Academy, Salman Khan, was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States to a father from Barisal, Bangladesh and mother from Calcutta, India. He has three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – a B.S. in mathematics, a M.Sc. in electrical engineering and computer science, and an MEng in electrical engineering and computer science, and pursued an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Khan Academy has received generous funding over the years, including a $2 million grant from Google in 2010.


2 thoughts on “US Dept. of Education awards $3 million contract to study Khan Academy’s effect on community college students’ algebra scores”

  1. This description of Khan is way over the top and highly disputable:

    > The impeccable credentials and worthiness of the Khan Academy, the revolutionary non-profit online educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan …

    Many career educators have raised serious questions about whether Khan is doing more harm than good. A few examples are below…


    Khan Academy: The Illusion of Understanding

    http://theeducationscientist.blogspot.com/2014/02/khan-academy-and-illusion-of.html

    http://theeducationscientist.blogspot.com/2014/03/khan-academy-how-does-it-measure-up.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/khan-academy-the-hype-and-the-reality/2012/07/23/gJQAuw4J3W_blog.html

    Of course, teachers aren’t “pissed off” because Sal Khan is the world’s teacher. They’re concerned that he’s a bad teacher who people think is great; that the guy who’s delivered over 170 million lessons to students around the world openly brags about being unprepared and considers the precise explanation of mathematical concepts to be mere “nitpicking.” Experienced educators are concerned that when bad teaching happens in the classroom, it’s a crisis; but that when it happens on YouTube, it’s a “revolution.”

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/06/26/khan_academy_mystery_science_theater_300_parody_by_math_teachers_video_.html

    “Khan is both brilliant and talented, but he doesn’t know much about pedagogy, the science of teaching information effectively.”

    I think we should wait for hard evidence from outcomes studies like the one described in the article before we jump to conclusions about credentials or worthiness, don’t you?

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