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After Doubling Their AP® Pass Rate with Online Test Prep, CA High School Implements New Online AP® and Classroom Resources

Tustin High School sees widespread improvement in scores after adding Shmoop to all its AP® programs

When Tustin High School introduced Shmoop’s AP® Test Prep into their AP® US History classes last year and saw pass rates nearly double for the subject in May 2012, the school thought more Shmoop might be a good thing. Using funds from voter approved ‘Measure S’ for Tustin Unified School District, Tustin High School introduced Shmoop, a large, award-winning online curriculum and Test Prep provider, to thousands of 11th- and 12th-grade AP® students. The May 2013 AP® exam results proved that trading in old textbooks for an online blend of interactive AP® practice exams, video answer explanations, individual analytics dashboards, and timed drills was the perfect ingredient for AP® success.

One of the most promising results from the May 2013 exams was that Tustin’s percentage of college-eligible scores on their AP® exams (a ‘3’ or above) doubled since 2011, when Shmoop first began piloting with the California high school.

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“The demographics of Tustin Unified School District mirror the state of California’s, so it’s exciting to think that one day we could be shrinking achievement gaps across the state through greater access to quality online content like this,” said Jonathan Blackmore, Principal at Tustin High School. “Shmoop has been a great resource at Tustin High School because our students have become the drivers of Shmoop and trained the teachers because they’ve loved the product and content so much.”

Based on their AP® success, Tustin Unified School District is currently developing custom, Common Core-aligned online math courses with Shmoop. It will be the first time the school has piloted the 100% digital curriculum format for its students for the following subjects:

  • 6th Grade Math
  • 6th – 7th Grade Math Combo
  • 7th Grade Math
  • 7th – 8th Grade Math Combo
  • 8th Grade Math
  • Algebra I
  • Geometry
  • Algebra II
  • Precalculus
  • Finite Math

Students receiving online instruction for these subjects will also be able to communicate virtually with each other and with their teachers through Shmoop’s online classrooms, which contain vital data on completed assignments, test scores, and suggested areas for improvement.

“Shmoop really leveled the playing field for kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds, so we’re excited to roll it out to a greater extent,” said Grant Litfin, Director of Secondary Education at TUSD. “Even the most interactive digital textbook is about $60 – $80 per student and that’s as cheap as you can usually get it, so the fact that Shmoop was more cost-effective and a one-stop shop for a whole world of resources, including test prep and online courses, served the purpose we need.”

About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital publisher of curriculum and test prep that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching materials. Shmoop content is written by master teachers and Ph.D. students from Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and other top universities. Shmoop Learning Guides, Test Prep, and Teacher’s Editions balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous materials to help teachers help students understand how subjects relate to their daily lives. Shmoop sees over 7 million unique visitors a month on its site, and offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards, named “Best in Tech” for 2010 and 2011 by Scholastic Administrator, and awarded with two Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES) in 2013. Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

*SAT and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of and does not endorse this product.

*ACT is a federally registered trademark of ACT, Inc. Shmoop University is not affiliated with or endorsed by ACT, Inc.

 

Literary March Madness Champion Announced

Mockingjay vs. Mockingbird: Shmoop tallies up the votes and awards the 2014 Literary March Madness Tournament Trophy.

After four intense rounds and thousands of votes, Shmoop is proud to announce their 2014 Literary March Madness winner. With 55% of the vote, To Kill a Mockingbird has risen above its page-turning competitors to become the ultimate champion.

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A Cutthroat Competition

Shmoop’s Literary March Madness began with sixteen competitors divided into four genres: British Literature, Dystopian Literature, American Literature, and World Literature. Over 14,000 votes were cast to determine the favorite book.

In the final round, To Kill a Mockingbird went toe-to-toe with experienced competitor The Hunger Games. While the popular dystopian novel has topped Shmoop’s most-visited page list for three years running, Harper E. Lee’s classic pulled ahead at the last moment and defeated Suzanne Collins’s YA favorite. What did Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of The Hunger Games, have to say about coping with her loss? “Peeta says it will be okay,” Everdeen shared. “We still have each other. And the book.”

A Champion Crowned

To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. Loosely inspired by author Harper E. Lee’s childhood growing up in the American South, the book tells the tale of young Scout Finch as she observes the deep-seated racism of her hometown and learns how to stand up for what—and who—she believes in. Shmoop’s Literary March Madness trophy isn’t the first major award for Mockingbird. In 1961, the novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching materials. Shmoop content is written by master teachers and Ph.D. students from Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and other top universities. Shmoop Learning Guides, Test Prep, and Teacher’s Editions balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous materials to help teachers help students understand how subjects relate to their daily lives. Shmoop sees over 8 million unique visitors a month on its site, and offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards, named “Best in Tech” twice by Scholastic Administrator, and awarded with two Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES). Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

*SAT and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of and does not endorse this product.

*ACT is a federally registered trademark of ACT, Inc. Shmoop University is not affiliated with or endorsed by ACT, Inc.

Literary March Madness: Championship Round

Sixteen entered, and only one will come out on top. Will Katniss Everdeen repeat her Hunger Games success and be the last book standing? Or will Scout’s luck (and ham outfit) keep her safe from Katniss’s bow and arrow?

Make your vote known by tomorrow, Thursday, April 3rd at 11 p.m. PT. And may the odds be ever in the best book’s favor!

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Literary March Madness: Final Four

And then there were four.

Who will make it to our championship round next Wednesday? Will it be Katniss with her bow and arrow skillz? Hamlet with his daddy issues? Scout with her Southern sass? Liesel and her sticky fingers?  Vote now or forever hold your peace.

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Literary March Madness: Elite Eight

Shmoop’s March Madness is back, and we’ve got an Elite Eight fighting for their place as best book ever.

Vote your hearts out and stay tuned for our Final Four to be announced on Wednesday.

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British Lit

Dystopian Lit

American Lit

World Lit

 

Literary March Madness: Sweet Sixteen

Far from fearing the Ides of March, Shmoop embraces March Madness. But just because we have no idea how to throw a free throw doesn’t mean we can’t participate in all the collegiate fun.

Enter: Shmoop’s March Madness. We’re putting your favorites* toe-to-toe until we get to your favorite novel. Make sure you get your favorite to the finals by voting early (and often). New brackets will come up on Mondays and Wednesdays, so come back and see which of your favorites has made it through to the next round!

*To prevent an Internet mob from raging about how their fav didn’t make the list: these books are the top 16 viewed lit guides from Shmoop. Maybe your fav will make it next year!

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British Lit

Dystopian Lit

American Lit

World Lit

College Board Announces Huge New SAT Changes

After as much anticipation as a Hunger Games movie, the College Board finally announced the major changes they’ll be making to the 2015 PSAT and 2016 SAT. David Coleman, College Board President, said the changes are being made to better align to students’ high school curriculum and really show what students have learned and how that will apply to their prospective college classrooms.

So what’s in store? Shmoop’s here to break it down:

  •  No more penalty for guessing. If students don’t finish in time, they can fill in “C” all the way down without fear of retribution.
  • No more ten-dollar words. The College Board finally has seen the Shmoopy light: just because a word has seven syllables doesn’t mean it should be used to determine how smart you are. Vocabulary is meant to help us communicate, so the SAT will replace words like “depreciatory” with words students actually use, like “empirical.”
  • Optional essay. If students do choose to write an essay, they’ll be asked to analyze a passage and explain how the author made his or her argument.
  • Welcome back to the perfect 1600. Now that the essay’s gone semi-sayonara, scores will once again be out of 1600, with 800 each for reading and math.
  • Sourcing source documents. Students will be asked to use source documents from science, social studies, and American history (hello, Declaration of Independence!) to answer questions.
  • Math Refocus. Questions will be focused on linear equations, complex equations/functions, and ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning. Also important to know: calculators will only be allowed on part of the math section. Time to break out that abacus!
  • Both digital and paper formats. Welcome to the technological revolution!

Given that there are over half a dozen bullet-points on that list, Shmoop understands that students (and teachers) need a steady hand to hold in these confusing times. Thankfully, this isn’t the first time Shmoop has had to revamp its Test Prep to meet new standards.

Here’s why students and teachers can continue to count on Shmoop:

  • We’ve faced test changes before promptly and with aplomb. Shmoop already updated its AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Spanish Language exams, and Shmoop made sure students had a full school year to use its new study materials.
  • We build our resources to keep up with the times. Just like how Shmoop’s Online Courses and Teaching Guides are auto-tagged with their appropriate Common Core Standards, Shmoop’s SAT Math Shack is built to respond to the new, just-announced Math section.
  • We never stop innovating. Even when the SAT was offering the same-old, same-old, Shmoop was never standing still. Over the past year, Shmoop’s SAT has built out our Math Shack, Math Shack Assignments, and have constantly been tweaking our materials to offer you the best review, best drills, and best practice exams.

That said, stay tuned for Shmoop’s SAT: The Sequel. We promise it’ll be even better than the original.