JKCF Executive Director Harold Levy Featured In The Atlantic
By: James S. Murphy
Last week, two major education companies unveiled a set of resources that they’ve pledged will help all kids—rich or poor—succeed on the SAT. After decades of denying the value of test prep, the College Board, which administers the SAT, is now promoting interactive, high-quality training materials, including drills keyed to students’ abilities and instructional videos. The materials were developed by Khan Academy, the free, online education company used by more than 15 million students globally; all the content was written or approved by the College Board itself. And they are, like Khan Academy, completely free.
The unveiling occasioned the expected cheers and doubts, but to evaluate the Khan Academy’s “Official SAT Practice” resources one must understand that they are part of a much bigger plan. It’s a plan that may help get thousands of poor students on track to success. But it will also give the College Board an even larger role in America’s high schools and the lives of students.
In recent years, the College Board has started to envision itself as a force for social equality. Much of that evolution has been spearheaded by its president, David Coleman, who took over in 2012 and argues that Khan prep will help “level the playing field” for poor and underrepresented students. While large test-prep companies, including The Princeton Review (where I’ve worked as a tutor) and Kaplan, have for years provided reduced-cost test prep to hundreds of thousands of students through school districts and community programs, the Khan resources will make quality test prep even more accessible for those who cannot afford classes or tutors.
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