Khan Academy can help students prepare for college math classes and math placement tests like Accuplacer and Compass. Our most popular math material used to help prepare for these tests is the Algebra Basics mission, which provides coverage of the core topics in Algebra I & II. Find out more about missions here.
Two common approaches that we have seen be effective in preparing students are:
creating structured programs to help prepare for their specific exam
or encouraging incoming students to use KA independently before classes begin
Some colleges use this approach in the form of boot camps, summer bridge programs, or lab/emporium classes for incoming students.
If you’re interested in encouraging students to use KA to help prepare for their placement tests, check out this article in finding study materials and tips.
The two examples below are from community colleges that decided to
Preparing students for Compass: Hawai'i Community College held a boot camp to help students reinforce their math skills and prepare for the Compass math placement test. Many students improved their scores.
Preparing students for Accuplacer: With support from the New England Board of Higher Education, Nashua Community College held a similar boot camp with a focus on Accuplacer. An article in The Telegraph, a large New Hampshire newspaper, profiled the program
Preparing students for Accuplacer, with a strong emphasis on 1-1 coaching: Math Blast is a free, hybrid online/in-person program in which students learn at their own pace with an assigned coach. By the end of the program, some students were even able to go straight from their initial pre-algebra level to college-level math.
Other colleges simply encourage incoming students to use Khan Academy on their own to brush up on math before classes begin.
For ideas about how to explain Khan Academy's resources to your students and set them up for success, check our suggestions for helping students build study plans.
Basic elements of successful student use
In any approach, we tend to see successful student use boil down to four basic elements.
- Use a subject-level mission as homework or supplement. Our most popular mission for college students in transition is Algebra Basics, which covers the core topics in Algebra I & II.
- Focus on mastery. Getting a skill ‘practiced’ is important, but mastery shows that students are retaining these skills over time.
- Provide additional support, such as access to tutors and motivational strategies. The human element of learning is critical - it’s important for students to have instructors/peers to intervene when needed.
- Show students the basics of using KA. Providing a little help initially when using the tool can go a long way.
For more information: