NEBHE Awarded Lumina Foundation for Education Grant to Work with Khan Academy to Boost Remedial Math

* Goal is to increase student persistence and completion
* Drive reform of developmental math

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) was awarded a $356,200 grant from the Lumina Foundation to support a developmental education project that provides a high-quality, low-cost instructional platform coupling Khan Academy and community college resources.

The project aims to boost the number of high-quality college degrees and credentials by improving student performance in developmental mathematics, and to further drive reform of developmental mathematics instruction, including new designs, lower costs and improved student outcomes.

As leaders ranging from President Obama to Lumina Foundation have heralded increased “college completion,” one obstacle has been the many students leaving high school but are not “college ready.” They are often steered toward developmental or “remedial” courses. These sub-college-level programs cost them money and time. But they generally don’t award credit, pushing off the day when the students can become educated contributors to society. Moreover, research shows that many remedial programs have low success and persistence rates.

The NEBHE program will leverage Khan Academy’s math content (conceptual videos, practice exercises and adaptive assessment environment) for community college students and faculty in various developmental education delivery models.

The initiative will initially benefit participating New England two-year institutions, but will be available to students and colleges nationwide.

NEBHE estimates that between 50% and 70% of all incoming community college students will need one or more developmental math courses.

Most of Khan Academy’s work has focused exclusively up to now on K-12 schools, but it has recently developed a new interest in postsecondary education. The NEBHE demonstration project promises outcomes and deliverables that will support the adaptation of no-cost tools to accelerate developmental mathematics reform and provide timely research data.

The project is fully aligned with current national initiatives-including the Common Core Standards for Success-to increase college completion, reform remedial education reform and advance free courseware and technology-enabled instruction. Further, while research indicates that technology-assisted, accelerated and contextualized strategies show great promise for improving developmental mathematics performance, the availability of high-quality, cost-effective tools is limited.

“We see this project as a away to generate high-impact data and research findings related to developmental math instruction and college persistence,” said NEBHE President & CEO Michael K. Thomas. “We thank Lumina Foundation and look forward to working with Khan and the community colleges to drive and inform changes in policies, programs and practices at the institution, system and state levels.”

Lumina Foundation is an Indianapolis-based private foundation dedicated to expanding access and success in education beyond high school. This mission is directed toward a single, overarching big goal-to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025.

Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.


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