Being in the business of SAT Prep, we naturally view the impending redesign of the SAT (2016) as a big deal. From our angle, the big deal within the big deal is in College Board joining forces with Khan Academy to provide SAT prep resources. According to College Board, the idea is to ‘level the playing field for every student taking the SAT’ – it will be availed to anyone free of charge as with the other tutoring services that Khan Academy currently dispenses online for its 10 million students each month.
Although the partnership is lined up for the redesigned SAT proper which will only come into effect in the spring of 2016, Khan Academy has already been given access to SAT materials and is in the process of preparing SAT prep courses for the old (current) SAT test which supposedly will be ready sometime this month. Actually, some of the current College Board SAT stuff are already on the Test Prep menu at the Khan website and I personally find them friendlier in Khan-style. It also helps that they have been enhanced with tutorials.
In view of the long running debate about how helpful test prep is in SAT (research claims an average improvement of only 30 points), this move is a strong endorsement in the affirmative by the administrator of the test itself. In fact, it’s been reported (Todd Balf /2014/03/09/magazine/the-story-behind-the-sat) that Shal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, opined that it’s possible to predict SAT scores based on individual benchmark and prescribed commitment and that improvement could be continual.
Some test-prep providers have been known to be nothing more than mere predators of SAT anxiety and provide no real educational benefit so College Board’s partnership with Khan Academy to provide SAT prep resources is spot-on there. That’s not to say that there’s no other way but Khan. In fact, online tutoring at its best is yet not the best. The most effectual is still the in-person one-on-one. Everything else being equal, good in-person tutoring will always beat good online tutoring.