Highlights from our 2019 Khan Academy Language Advocate Convention

We recently hosted our fourth annual Khan Academy Language Advocate Convention, where we were joined by 23 language advocates representing 15 languages—and a whopping eight different alphabets! Our language advocates lead the effort to translate Khan Academy into dozens of different languages. Their work is crucial to achieving the anywhere part of our mission to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.

Khan Academy staff and language advocates exchanged best practices on everything from raising funds to raising awareness of Khan Academy through social media. Language advocates also shared translation tips and tools with each other and presented to the entire Khan Academy staff about their efforts to make Khan Academy available around the world. Last but certainly not least, each language advocate brought a tasty treat from their home country so everyone could share in a delicious, international buffet.

Our language advocates work hard to make sure Khan Academy content isn’t just translated into different languages but made applicable to each country’s local context. For example, an English math problem about Susie buying apples may turn into a problem about Hélène buying grapes in French or Fatima buying mangoes in Hindi. In 2019 we introduced functionality for language advocates to curate Khan Academy content to match their local curricula, and a focus of this year’s convention was sharing best practices for aligning Khan Academy to each country’s curricula and implementing Khan Academy in schools.

Finally, language advocates met with Sal Khan, our founder and CEO, to discuss the future of Khan Academy as well as the similarity between their efforts to create and launch Khan Academy in new languages today and Sal’s effort to create and launch Khan Academy 10 years ago.

Here’s to continuing to work together with translators around the world toward making a free, world-class education available to anyone, anywhere!


Our new offering for school districts empowers teachers by quickly and easily differentiating instruction for every student who takes MAP Growth

by Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy

Teachers know that meeting the individual needs of each student can accelerate learning. They’re heroic in their efforts to differentiate instruction in classrooms of 25 or more students at various learning levels. But it’s challenging for even the most dedicated teacher to meet the diverse needs of every student. Differentiation is time consuming and intensely manual. 

That’s why I’m delighted school districts can now choose MAP Accelerator, a new tool that does the hard work of differentiation for teachers. MAP Accelerator uses MAP Growth scores to automatically generate a personalized, mastery-based learning plan for every student, while keeping the teacher as the instructional decision maker.

We’ve partnered with NWEA, the creator of MAP Growth, to introduce this new resource. Khan Academy and NWEA are excited to empower teachers with a new way to deeply connect interim assessment to actionable classroom learning. Our goal with MAP Accelerator is to reach the children who need our help most. 

With MAP Accelerator, we import MAP Growth RIT scores into Khan Academy to automatically place students at their learning edge:

Teachers review the learning plan that MAP Accelerator recommends for each student. Teachers can adjust suggested goals in the learning plan as they see fit or accept all goals with a single click. 

Students take ownership over their learning as they progress through their personalized plan using Khan Academy’s mastery learning system. We foster student agency because students can move ahead or change directions. 

  Districts get an easy-to-implement solution with classroom, school, and district-level reporting; professional learning for teachers; and priority technical support.

We recommend 30 or more minutes per week of student learning on MAP Accelerator. As students advance, teachers can use real-time data to make decisions about classroom instruction, form small groups, and provide one-on-one coaching. 

Research shows that use of Khan Academy is associated with greater than expected growth in mathematics. Completing 60% or more of grade-level math on Khan Academy is associated with 1.8 times expected growth on the mathematics portion of MAP Growth.

MAP Accelerator includes math content aligned to MAP Growth for grades three through eight in both English and Spanish. Our mastery learning system is aligned to Common Core State Standards and includes practice exercises with worked solutions, quizzes, unit tests, instructional videos, and articles.

We launched a pilot of MAP Accelerator four months ago with five school districts: Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jefferson County School District in Louisville, Kentucky, and Madera Unified School District, Pajaro Valley Unified School District, and Glendale Unified School District in California. Nearly 180,000 students and thousands of teachers are using MAP Accelerator today. We’re heartened by their progress so far and look forward to great things to come.

The pilot is just the start of an exciting new era for classrooms that use MAP Growth. With MAP Accelerator, teachers can not only see where students are in their learning journey but also pinpoint where they need help and generate a personalized learning plan quickly and easily with the click of a button. Students take ownership of their learning as they progress through Khan Academy’s mastery learning system. We think MAP Accelerator equips teachers to unlock student potential like never before. 

To learn more about MAP Accelerator, please visit our partner NWEA’s website.


Got test anxiety? Sal Khan shares tips for reducing stress before your exam

Are you stressed about a test you have coming up? You’re not alone! A couple of weeks ago, Sal Khan shared his advice for managing exam anxiety.  We got lots of amazing responses to his suggestions, and we’d love to share them with you. 

“Listening to Sal’s tips just reminds me that I am not alone. Thank you so much Khan Academy.”
—@alexiawpyisnow on Instagram

“I appreciate this more than you can imagine. It’s been rough. I wish every kid on earth could see this video.”
—Umar on Youtube

“I need more Sal in my life. Can he just be there and coach us through all of life’s challenges?”
—@ferenstein on Twitter

“Today, your words made me cry … This Friday I have another physics exam, and I’ve been stressing pretty hard. Your reminder that we, as people, are not defined by test scores really struck a chord in me. I needed to hear that. Thank you for all you do for people everywhere and all you’ve already done for me. You rock, Sal!”
—Beautiful on Youtube

If you’ve already watched  Sal’s test jitters video and taken his advice, then you’ve been busy! In the weeks leading up to an exam, Sal recommends three strategies:

  1. Build a habit of practice—take practice tests, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and work on your weaknesses on a regular basis.
  2. Share your feelings—talk about your insecurities with people you trust and find people who can support you.
  3. Keep a bigger perspective—remember that a test score does not define you and that real happiness is knowing who you are.

So now that it’s the night before your big test, what can you do to set yourself up for success tomorrow? Sal Khan is back with three more tips to help you put your best foot forward on test day.

Take Sal’s advice and turn off your device, go spend some time with your family or close friends, watch a show, and laugh a little.


Three Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Sal Khan

Did you know Sal Khan will be in Spain this week accepting a prestigious award from the Princess of Asturias Foundation? The team here at Khan Academy is very proud of Sal, and we’ll all be cheering for him on Friday, October 18 during the award ceremony! 🎉

You might think of Sal as the founder of Khan Academy, but we know him as the approachable, down-to-earth guy who we work with every day—and we want you to know that Sal too! Here are three facts about Sal you might not know!

Sal Khan wears shorts and a polo shirt and poses with a teacher. Text: Three things you probably didn't know about Sal Khan.

Image: Sal Khan and Khan Academy Ambassador Crystal Famania

1) Sal often wears shorts to the office.

You’ll probably see photos and video of Sal wearing a suit and tie accepting his award this week, but our Sal is often in the office wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Sal knows that people learn and work better in a variety of settings and at different times of day, and the culture in our office embraces that mindset. We enjoy a relaxed and casual dress code and are encouraged to work when and where we’ll be most productive. And, of course, Sal started Khan Academy by recording videos in his closet after work, so it’s always been casual for him.

2) Sal loves to conduct walking meetings.

If you have a meeting with Sal on your calendar, chances are you’ll be going for a walk with him outside the office. These walk-and-talk meetings are great for getting more physical exercise and experiencing a change of scenery. Plus, recent research found that walking can lead to increases in creative thinking!

3) Sal’s favorite book is Pride and Prejudice.

When Sal was forced to read Austen, Huxley, and Dickens in school, he hated these classic works of literature. But, when he reread Pride and Prejudice for fun in his twenties, he realized he loved it. What book from your childhood have you reread as an adult and now realize you actually love?

Follow the hashtags #PremiosPrincesadeAsturias and #PrincessofAsturiasAwards on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on Friday, October 18, to see pictures from the awards ceremony. You won’t be fooled by the suit now—you know the real Sal!



Figuring out how kids learn with #TeachWithKhan educator Tambra Kascic

In a recent interview, our Teacher Community Program Manager, Aviv, spoke to Tambra Kascic, an #alwaysgrowing educator with a special commitment to figuring out how kids learn and sharing her expertise in the #TeachWithKhan Facebook and Twitter communities. 

Aviv at Khan Academy: Can you describe your journey to becoming a teacher? 

Tambra:  Before I started teaching, I aspired to work in engineering technologies, and wound up working for a military-based supplier company. This is where I worked on various military equipment during Desert Storm and I got the opportunity to inspect the Atlantis space shuttle windows! I decided to re-attend college at age 48 to complete a degree in secondary education mathematics because I got tired of hearing teens say, “I hate math.” This is where I learned about Khan Academy from a grad student who was teaching a biology lab I was enrolled in.

Aviv at Khan Academy:  That’s an incredible journey! How did you address the I-hate-math attitude in your early years of teaching? 

Tambra: I first taught in Roane County, a rural farm community with a high need for math teachers and then at South Charleston High School, a school with a diverse population of under-resourced students. I taught classes from conceptual math to AP Calculus and implanted problem/project-based learning in all of my classes, much to the dismay of my fellow teachers. I asked to have the desks in rows and columns removed and found round tables so my students could work together and collaborate. Khan Academy became a tool for my students to use when questioning the process or their answers when they worked to complete problems in the classroom. 

Aviv at Khan Academy: Tell me more about how personalized learning fits into your teaching. 

Tambra: I decided to work towards my master’s degree in special education to better understand the teaching process for students with special needs. I wanted to use those skills for students who fell through the cracks in the general education classrooms. After receiving my masters, I accepted a position at the same high school to create an engineering program as well as teach the college dual credit classes and AP Calculus. The engineering project was to increase our students in STEM-related courses and careers and to encourage female students to continue in STEM courses. Our current level of 18% female students enrolled in engineering-type courses is well below the national average, and it is my hope to continue to increase this percentage each year. We are on the right track, and have increased our enrollment by almost 400%, have a 3D printing lab, and opened our first chapter of Skills USA for our school!

Aviv at Khan Academy: What are your plans for continuing to personalize learning for all students in the future? 

Tambra: While my master’s degree addressed many of the questions I had regarding cognitive learning and how it relates to curriculum, I decided to pursue my doctorate in philosophy with a focus on cognition and curriculum psychology in order to design and implement evidence-based interventions to better serve struggling students. 

It is my goal to get to the heart of I-hate-math statements and encourage my district to use strategies that change the mindset of students, so they will be more motivated to continue pathways that lead to STEM careers. 

I am currently working on a research topic relating to psychology, math and learning struggles of students in general education. Through this process, I have continued to use Khan Academy, going as far as becoming an Ambassador in order to train and encourage other teachers to use this amazing tool. 

Aviv at Khan Academy: Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!

Tambra: Thank you for the opportunity!