College Track is a national education nonprofit that empowers students from underserved communities to reach their dreams of a college degree. It works closely with high school students via after-school support, among other services.
About College Track
Our mission is to close the achievement gap and create college-going cultures for students who are historically underrepresented in higher education. We currently have 1,000 students enrolled across six sites: East Palo Alto, San Francisco, Oakland, New Orleans, Aurora, and Boyle Heights. Each site recruits students from 8th grade to begin participating in College Track during the summer between 8th and 9th grade. Our high school program works with all students through 12th grade, and when our students go to college, our College Success program mentors them. We do not just want students admitted to college; we want them persisting through college to obtain college degrees.
Gender: 63% female, 37% male
Ethnicity: Latino = 44%, Black = 37%, Asian = 9%, Multiracial = 5%, Other = 6%
80% of our students come from households WITHOUT a parent with a 4-year degree.
Our start with Khan Academy
We started using Khan Academy in the fall of 2011 in Aurora when we opened our Colorado site. Our goal when was to help students improve their math skill gaps. We had recruited a class of 60 students who had just begun 9th grade at Rangeview High School, and all 60 were committed to going to college. But we were shocked by some of the missing basic math skills - multiplication, division, adding and subtracting integers, anything to do with fractions, etc. While math teachers at RHS were working hard, the curriculum at the school - an integrated math program - rarely gave students the opportunity to practice these basic skills. We viewed our after school tutoring and workshop program as a place where we could provide dedicated students an opportunity to practice important math skills.
Our administration team has been incredibly supportive of our plan to target math skill development using Khan Academy. They identified a Khan Academy implementation as an organizational priority, authorized the purchase of technology for the purpose of using KA, were instrumental in developing KA professional development for all Academic Directors, and supported the development of our student progress portal to make information about student performance on KA easily accessible to students and staff. This portal, www.collegetrackmath.org, was developed by one of Aurora's volunteers, and we began working on version 2.0 later in spring 2013.
CollegeTrack's national organization has taken the model started by Aurora and allowed all sites like Boyle Heights to adapt and set up students on the collegetrackmath.org website.
How we use Khan Academy
As an organization, we've aligned all Khan Academy exercises to ACT standards, because our ultimate measure of success is college readiness per ACT score. Different sites set up different models for targeting students. We're always working toward identifying best practices as an organization. To this point, we've found that offering targeted math workshops for students below ACT benchmark in math is a solid way to provide a required time for students to practice math skills. Each location uses Khan Academy in a way that suits their needs:
San Francisco: We have two different approaches for students Below Benchmark or Approaching Benchmark.
- Students "Approaching" Benchmark are required to use Khan Academy for one hour each week. Students may opt in at any point during the week to complete their Khan hour while programming is in session. Students use the CollegeTrackMath website to determine which exercises to complete and track progress.
- Students "Below" Benchmark are scheduled into one hour-long workshop with direct intervention and instruction. Khan is used for extension within the hour for students who either finish collaborative activity early or require further remediation practice. Outside of the workshop, students are expected to use their Individual Learning Plan to navigate Khan exercises that cover objectives taught in the workshop each week for additional practice and mastery.
For all students our “Khan Corner” is set up on the outside desks of the tutoring room next to the Math Table so that help is readily available. Computers and space are reserved throughout the week so students may utilize this area whenever they choose.
Aurora: We target students who are below ACT's college readiness benchmark in math. Each of these students is scheduled into a math workshop (barring unworkable scheduling conflicts), where the students work toward mastery in skills/concepts that are hindering their math success at higher levels. We also encourage students to use KA during tutoring once they have finished their homework.
Boyle Heights: Students are enrolled in differentiated workshops based on 1) Fall 2012 GPA and 2) ACT Explore math score. Math workshops use Khan for the first twenty minutes or so and students are encouraged to use the site during tutorials when they don't have homework.
New Orleans: We have scheduled several students, mostly juniors and seniors, for a Khan Academy Lab once a week (45 minutes) during their tutoring block. Students are assigned work based upon ACT score, as well as based upon their ability to work well in an online learning environment. Additionally, students who do not have homework or who come in as drop-ins are also transitioned into Khan.
With respect to interaction at the teacher and student levels. All of our tutors and workshop instructors have been in-serviced and provided with the opportunity to experience Khan first-hand themselves. We have a lab with a KA Coordinator. This person is a certified secondary mathematics teacher with ten years teaching experience, and three years experience working at our center, both as a tutor and as a math workshop instructor. The Academic Affairs Director and Academic Coordinator program students for their work on Khan Academy based upon the ACT Test, Khan Academy correlations, and the students' demonstrated ability to successfully work independently. All programming information is kept in students' academic profile folder, which is regularly accessed by the students, tutors and the Khan Coordinator, who also provides backup tutoring support to students working on Khan. Students' progress is regularly monitored by the KA Coordinator and Academic Resource Specialist, as well as the Academic Affairs Director. The lab coordinator provides scaffolding and direction to students as they work through programmed material, allows them to reflect upon their session, and keeps documentation of student progress. Students are scheduled for Khan for at least one hour per week. Many also take the opportunity to work on KA during their drop-in tutoring sessions as well. Homework tutors provide extended tutoring support in areas covered in KA.
Technology access of our students
Access to technology looks different at each College Track site.
Aurora: Students have access to 18 MacBooks and 22 iPads. Our students attend College Track between 2:30 and 7:00pm daily (Session 1 is from 2:30 to 3:45pm, Session 2 is from 4:00 to 5:25pm, and session 3 is from 5:40 to 7:00pm). Technology flies out of our carts at the beginning of each session for use on essays, research, and Khan Academy.
Boyle Heights: Students have access to 9 iPads and 12 laptops. Students enrolled in math workshops use the iPads for Khan exercises.
New Orleans: Students have access to computers with internet at ULCT; it's very rare a student needs a computer and one is not available. There are a significant number of students who do not have a computer with internet access at home.
Collaboration between CollegeTrack centers
We are hoping to work together more, but to date, we have worked together in a few ways:
All sites joined www.collegetrackmath.org in January 2013.
We've discussed the idea of cross-site competitions among students but have tabled that until all sites are more comfortable using KA regularly.
Academic Directors have come together for two day-long professional developments on developing tracking tools for KA and implementing KA in program.