kitchen table math, the sequel:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm beginning to think there may be something to the disruptive technology argument.

First the Khan Academy ("my goal is to cover everything") and now, which C. found while I was in Minneapolis, attending msmi2010. is the only website that offers students access to comprehensive free online test preparation courses for the SAT, ACT, and GRE. How do we do it? earns revenue from sponsorships and licensing.

The company was founded by professors and graduate students who wanted to make high quality test preparation universally accessible. In 1999 Eric Loken and Josh Millet were graduate students studying for their PhDs at Harvard University when they began teaching free SAT prep classes in the Boston area. Seeking to expand their services to the Internet, they teamed up with Vincent Crespi, a professor of physics at Pennsylvania State University, who had created a test prep website called in 1995. With the help of a great technologist, Filip Radlinski, they launched a new version of the site in September, 2000. Eric and Josh now also run an employee testing company.

Since 2000, over 2 million students have enrolled in's online courses, and the web site now receives over 50 million hits per month. In 2002 was acquired by Xap Corporation....

about Number2

C. likes it because when he can't solve a problem, Number2 gives him a hint instead of the answer.

In theory, the text prep books could do that, too, but they don't.


Catherine Johnson said...

Check this out (from the site):

"The practice sessions are not just a way to test yourself on each type of question, they are an interactive session that helps you learn from your mistakes. When you get an answer wrong, the SAT Companion will explain why your answer is not the best one, and provide hints that will help you to decipher even the toughest questions. It will feel like you have your own personal SAT tutor right there with you. "

Catherine Johnson said...

oh my gosh -- and this:

The only reason we ask you to enroll, rather than making the site generally available, is that this allows us to personalize your tutorial. Once you enroll, the computer keeps track of your strengths and weaknesses and the material that you've covered so far. Unlike other test prep sites, which might have a complicated registration process with a long diagnostic test, on you can jump right in and get started. This is because our site continuously adapts to your ability as you go along. As you work through a set of practice questions, the computer selects questions that are tailored to your ability level in each category. That way, users of all abilities will get challenging but doable questions.