Website review by Melissa Powers, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2021

Khan Academy

Flexible learning environment offers a personalized journey to mastery

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 108 reviews
Privacy rating
88%| Pass Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
2–12
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, College & Career Prep
Great for

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1 video | 6 images

Pros: Mastery-focused lessons auto-adapt for each student while continuous assessment gives teachers valuable, real-time data.

Cons: Video instruction may be too fast-paced for some learners; some instruction is delivered only via text.

Bottom Line: A solid, free resource for targeted math and science instruction, test prep, history, and more.

For classroom teachers, Khan Academy is probably best used to introduce, practice, and review content. Though math is the most comprehensively covered subject, teachers focusing on science, history, or economics can teach or supplement full courses with Khan Academy. Math and reading content (in beta as of this review) is organized by course and grade level, so it's easy to target students' instruction for a particular level and skill. Plus, you can set a Course Mastery Goal, which will automatically give kids the practice to help them reach that objective. Use Math: Great Ready Courses to help get kids up to grade level. Class setup is super simple, and Khan Academy integrates with Google Classroom, too. To make the most of Khan Academy’s features, explore the Khan for Educators course located in the teacher dashboard.

Using the site's powerful analytical and adaptive program, you can track students' progress and identify students who may be struggling in certain areas. If students are using Khan Academy during class, take advantage of the real-time reporting. You can stop the class to teach a skill they are all missing, or target the struggling students for some small-group instruction. And if you're working with little kids, you can use Khan Academy Kids to introduce foundational skills and SEL concepts. 

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Khan Academy, a free website aimed at promoting self-paced instruction, houses thousands of academic videos that are baked into guided, adaptive instruction. With an initial focus on math, the site now offers courses on a variety of topics in science, economics, history, the arts, language arts, and computing, as well as prep for tests like the SAT and Praxis Core. Course offerings are continually updated and expanded. In response to the pandemic, Khan Academy has added a lot of support for distance learning and homeschool environments.

Students participate in courses, which are broken down into units and lessons. The course structure helps narrow focus on a particular skill or topic, but students are never restricted on the site; they can always access any content that interests them. Teachers can assign work lesson by lesson or set a Course Mastery Goal, in which the students work at their own pace to complete a course by a certain date. Students demonstrate mastery on short assessments throughout the course and by completing the course challenge test. Struggling students can work on prerequisites or use the Math: Get Ready Courses while also working to complete any other grade-level content.

Whether students are exploring on their own, using the site in class, or using it as a resource for homework and test prep, Khan Academy can be a very useful supplement to classroom instruction and discussion. If it's used as a primary source of instruction, note that the videos tend to be more procedural than conceptual. Nevertheless, the site's missions aim to promote more conceptual understanding, as they challenge kids to practice and master skills on their own, using hints and videos as support rather than as the main source of instruction. And nearly every Common Core math standard is addressed at each grade level, making the website a rich resource for standards coverage.

Some great features on the site: You can turn on subtitles within each video, and the full Khan Academy curriculum is available in at least 18 languages. It would be nice, though, if built-in text-to-speech was available for the text-only content. For students with visual impairments, there are a few accessibility options located in account settings. Students can also use the Khan Academy app, which provides access to all courses, plus allows downloads for offline learning. Because its organization and interface is fairly formal and its activities are straightforward, it's unlikely many students will open Khan Academy and be excited to dive in. However, it is truly one of the most comprehensive and targeted free resources available anywhere.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Self-paced lessons target real-world applications. Videos are simple, casual, and friendly; badges and points motivate without being too childlike. Interface is relatively formal and probably won't thrill kids.

Pedagogy

Interactive exercises promote kids' conceptual knowledge more than videos alone, but not all courses are created equal. Progress tracking for students and teachers is superb.

Support

Most lessons include customized step-by-step solutions and supporting videos. Teacher support resources are comprehensive.


Common Sense reviewer
Melissa Powers Media specialist/librarian

Community Rating

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Featured review by
JESSICA S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Greensboro Elementary
Greensboro MD, United States
To the team who created Khan Academy.... you're the real MVP
Overall, this is a great tool for teachers to use in the classroom to allow students to work at their own pace and to connect to parents at home. I loved how easy it was to connect to Google Classroom and streamline assignments. I think having a couple different videos on the content being taught would be nice for learners who need to hear information several times, in many different formats. Having a choice between two different games to earn badges can give reluctant learners a bit more autonomy and ...
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Users cannot interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is not shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Users can create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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