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Khan Academy in 7th Grade Math Classes: A Case Study

By Stacy Marple, Karina Jaquet, Alana Laudone, Justin Sewell, Kirsten Liepmann


This report, developed in partnership with WestEd and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, describes part of an implementation study that seeks to understand 7th-grade students’ engagement with edtech math products, absent any intervention.

The authors describe how such products are used in real time by students in the classroom. The aim was neither a comprehensive evaluation of a particular product and its full suite of capacities nor a review of whether the product was aligned to state standards for mathematics. Rather, the authors opportunistically asked to observe lessons on days when teachers would be using edtech products and then chose the most consistently used math products to focus on for case studies.

Khan Academy Math was of interest to district staff and, also, was present in all focal classrooms, and thus became a study focus. Khan Academy is an organization that offers free, online practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard designed to help students study and learn material at their own pace.

Data reported in this study are primarily qualitative in nature, drawn from over 28 Khan Academy-focused classroom observations, focus groups with over 100 students, and teacher interviews.


Overall, the study found that Khan Academy is a useful tool, and that teachers and students appreciated it as a resource for practice and reinforcement of math learning. At the same time, there are concerns about the potential of edtech products like Khan Academy to unintentionally exacerbate the achievement gap. Additional research into how to best support struggling learners with edtech products is needed. Developers could benefit from integrating that research into their product designs.

This report was produced in partnership with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Copyright: 2019
Format: PDF
Pages: 20
Publisher: WestEd