As part of the redesign of the standardized SAT exam used for college admission, the College Board also decided to provide free test-prep materials through the online learning Kahn Academy. The partnership was created because David Coleman, president of the College Board, considers the test-prep industry “predators that prey on the anxieties of parents and children and provide no real educational benefit.”
Test-prep has become a billion-dollar business, costing parents hundreds of dollars for each course. The services review content and test-taking techniques students should know, along with hundreds of practice questions that help overcome test anxiety, but some research indicates students taking the review classes may only improve their scores by small margins.
Free online test-prep tutorials will make the information more accessible, but will probably not stop parents from paying it. At the same time, firms that offer test-prep services are supporting the College Board partnership with Kahn.
“The free resources supplied by Sal Kahn may actually expand the market now that students know that test prep works and is necessary for them to perform best on the SAT,” Deborah Ellinger, CEO of the Princeton Review which offers test-prep services, told The Atlantic.