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Math Mastery at Acton Academy

Why we use Khan Academy and why we start at Kindergarten math

No matter how old a student is when he or she arrives at Acton Academy El Salvador, he or she must begin from Kindergarten in math, using Khan Academy. 


Because we find that in the Traditional school system, all the students have major foundational gaps in mathematics. These gaps not only signify a lack of math knowledge, they also greatly affect a student’s ability to feel confident in math, which we think is just as much of a problem.

Math ability is an absolutely critical skill in life. How can a person manage personal finance, calculate how much of something to build or buy, give the correct change or ensure that they are not being taken advantage of in any situation involving money or quantities of goods if they aren’t confident and skilled in math?

Not to mention keeping career options open such as engineering, math, technology, science, architecture, carpentry, accounting and hundreds more?

At Acton Academy we don’t mess around with math. In traditional schools, children are passed on the the next level of math when they have learned 70% or more of the math. Seventy percent means that they have NOT MASTERED 30% of what they need to know! Would you want your cardiologist or engineer to be 70% sure of his or her work? Would you build a house on 70% of a foundation? Of course not.

Now, you may be thinking “what a waste of time” for my child to be stuck back in Kindergarten! Please do not worry. If an Eagle has the math ability to pass Kindergarten math, it can take less than an hour to finish the Kindergarten level! (I tried it this morning and I passed Kindergarten math in 9 minutes).

How? Because Khan Academy is adaptive. It tests your skills with increasingly harder problems. The more you get right, the harder it gets. So when it gets really difficult and the students are not able to answer 5 questions in a row correctly, we know we have arrived at their “true mastery level”. Unfortunately, that level is ususally far lower than their grade level was at their former school.

But the best news is that we are filling in those gaps to make sure that when our Eagles finish a grade level in math, they have truly mastered it and are building their math house on a solid foundation of 100% mastery.

Want to try it yourself? Sign up for Khan Academy (it is free) and see how long it takes you to finish Kindergarten math!

For more information on this, I invite you to watch this TED Talk of Salman Khan:

And to read Sal Khan’s book “The One World Schoolhouse” were he discusses Khan Academy’s design and supporting outcomes studies.

Happy Math Learning!

The Acton Team

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