Three Students Show the Power of Productive Practice as a New Partnership is Announced to Bring Tools to Millions of More Students
Three Students Show the Power of Productive Practice as a New Partnership is Announced to Bring Tools to Millions of More StudentsZach Goldberg, Senior Director, Communications
2.3 million students have signed up to study for the SAT on Khan Academy: These are three of their stories
Valencia Grayson is an accomplished multi-sport athlete who hopes to play volleyball at a Division 1 university.
Matthew Blue has his eyes set on attending Lamar University in Texas.
Tatiana Thelusma wants to go to a college outside of her home state of Florida.
To reach their goals, each of the high school seniors dedicated themselves to raising their SAT scores. With the support of their teachers, they learned about Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy. Launched more than a year ago, Official SAT Practice provides all students with free and interactive test practice.
After taking the PSAT/NMSQT, Valencia, Matthew, and Tatiana connected their College Board and Khan Academy accounts and received personalized practice plans. By linking their accounts, they were able to easily identify and home in on the areas where they needed to improve. After committing themselves to hours of practice each week – sometimes during school in the classroom, sometimes after school in the library, sometimes at home or on the road using a mobile device – their hard work paid off.
Valencia boosted her SAT score 470 points when she took it months after the PSAT/NMSQT. She has since received more than a dozen emails and calls from colleges trying to recruit her. Matthew increased his SAT score 200 points from his PSAT/NMSQT score. Tatiana’s SAT score went up 250 points, and she’s now thinking about applying to out-of-state schools that she considered out of reach before.
Valencia, Matthew, and Tatiana were in Miami last Thursday sharing their powerful stories with educators at the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) fall conference. During a moving program inside a packed convention hall, College Board President David Coleman and Khan Academy Founder and CEO Sal Khan brought these three remarkable students on stage, where they received a standing ovation from hundreds of superintendents and education leaders, representing 70 of the largest school districts in the country.
“Valencia, Matthew, and Tatiana show what is possible through devoted practice. There are tens of thousands of other students who are following the path they have blazed through practice on Khan Academy,” Coleman said.
(From the left: Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy; Tatiana Thelusma; Valencia Grayson; David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board; Matthew Blue)
At the conference, CGCS Executive Director Mike Casserly announced a new partnership with the College Board and Khan Academy to bring Official SAT Practice to even more students across the districts that comprise the Council. The “SAT Practice All In Challenge” will inspire students from these districts to sign up for the free practice resources and practice in a meaningful way. CGCS, along with the College Board and Khan Academy, will provide training to participating member districts and connections to local non-profit partners to maximize use of Official SAT Practice among their students.
Valencia, Matthew, and Tatiana hope that more students will benefit from Official SAT Practice, as they have.
“I liked that every time I got a question wrong, I was able to go back and do it again and get better and better. I was able to study and stay focused,” said Valencia, who attends Booker T. Washington High School in Houston. “Since getting my SAT score, I’ve gotten a lot of calls from colleges trying to recruit me. Now, I’m going to be able to apply to Division 1 schools that were out of reach before. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy.”
“All I had before was a dictionary and books I could take from the library. When my teachers introduced me to Khan Academy I was so happy that it was free,” said Matthew, who also attends Booker T. Washington High School. “The website is simple and straight to the point. It really helped me with problem solving.”
“With the PSAT score I doubted myself, but my teachers showed me with Khan Academy I could do it. If it wasn’t for Khan Academy I wouldn’t have access to SAT practice at all. It’s a godsend,” said Tatiana, who attends Oak Ridge High School in Orange County, Florida. Her SAT score has “opened doors” for her, including the opportunity to attend college in Georgia.
In Miami, Valencia, Matthew, and Tatiana received a welcome befitting celebrities. After receiving a standing ovation, they walked off the stage to handshakes and requests for photos from educators, who in turn vowed to ensure that students in their districts benefit from Official SAT Practice too.
Later, at dinner at a restaurant miles away from the CGCS conference, where they ate before flying back to their communities, there were spotted by an educator.
“Look, it’s the stars from the lunch session!”