Review by Melissa Powers, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2019

Khan Academy

Missions boost learning with balance of focus and freedom to explore

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (103 Reviews)
Privacy rating (How we rate)

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1 video | 6 images

Pros: Mastery-focused missions set the pace for each student individually while continuous assessment gives teachers valuable real-time data.

Cons: Video instruction may be too fast-paced for some learners; a fair amount of instruction is delivered only via text with few illustrations.

Bottom Line: A solid resource for math and science instruction as well as foundational knowledge in a number of other high school subjects.

For classroom teachers, Khan Academy is probably best used to introduce, practice, and review content. Though math is the most comprehensively covered subject, science, history, and economics teachers can teach or supplement full courses with Khan Academy. The math missions are organized by course and grade level so it's easy to target students' instruction for a particular level and skill. It's super easy to set up a class, and Khan Academy integrates with Google Classroom, too. To make the most of Khan Academy's features, don't miss the guides for teachers and coaches located in the Help Center. 

Using the site's powerful analytical and adaptive program, you can track students' progress and identify those 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're all missing, or target the struggling students for some small-group instruction.

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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, and computing, as well as prep for tests like the SAT and GMAT. Want to learn about the Federal Reserve Balance Sheet, explore the inside of a DVD player, or simply review some pre-algebra skills? It's all here.

Students can follow "missions," which help narrow their focus on a particular skill or subject, but students are never restricted on the site; they can always access any content that interests them. As teachers create classes and add students, they can request that students accept a specific mission relevant to their course. Students are notified of which mission they've been assigned, as well as the teacher-selected due dates for specific targets. In order to complete a mission, students must master all the skills within and take a series of Mastery Challenges aimed at knowledge retention. Struggling students can work on prerequisites while also working to complete any other grade-level content. The site's adaptive tool recommends learning content for students based on their unique history on the site; they'll also see a list of recommendations from their teacher.

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, it's important to 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 include the ability to turn on subtitles within each video, and the full Khan Academy curriculum is available in 12 languages. It would be nice, though, if built-in text-to-speech was available for the text-only content. For visually impaired students, there are a few accessibility options located in account settings. Students can also use the Khan Academy app, which provides access to all course content, plus allows downloads for offline learning.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Interactive lessons have colorful graphics and target real-world applications. Videos are simple, casual, and friendly; badges and points motivate without being too childlike.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

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 Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Many exercises include customized step-by-step solutions and supporting videos. Teacher support resources are very comprehensive.


Common Sense Reviewer
Melissa Powers Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 103 reviews) (103 reviews) Write a review
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.
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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.
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Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
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Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.
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