Improving student test scores on the ACT* exam may not be as difficult as it can seem. As it turns out, the recipe for success could be as simple as one short step: “Just add Shmoop.”
At Indio High School in Indio, California, Assistant Principal Charles Mazet has noticed some striking improvements in ACT exam performance since Shmoop, a publisher of digital curriculum and test prep, was first introduced to classrooms. Students also look taller, seem to have developed better posture, and appear to have shinier hair.
(Disclaimer: Not directly related to the use of Shmoop, although it probably doesn't hurt.)
“At Indio High School, Shmoop has been crucial in helping students prepare for the ACT exam,” says Mazet. “They walk into the exam with the confidence that they can be successful. Part of this is because students can work at their own pace, both at school and at home. The Shmoop program also gives them a better sense of the exam through the drills and practice exams—the explanations of why one answer choice was right and the others were wrong helped them gain a stronger understanding of what exactly the ACT exam is looking for.”
For juniors in the class of 2014, average scores in English increased almost a full point from those of juniors in the class of 2012 (17.3 to 18.1). The average score in Reading increased from 18.3 two years ago to 19.0 this past April.
Meanwhile, the percentage of students scoring above the national average rocketed from 61% for the class of 2012 to 80% for the class of 2014, and the percentages of students scoring at or above the College Readiness Benchmark also increased across the board: from 46% to 56% for the English test, from 26% to 36% for the Reading test, and from 7% to 11% for the Science test. These students couldn’t be more ready for college if they went shopping for extra-long twin sheets and shower caddies over spring break.
The good news doesn't stop there: most of the students in the class of 2012 took the ACT exam two or more times, so their scores represent their overall best efforts, while the juniors in the class of 2014 has only had the opportunity to take the test once thus far. Frankly, Shmoop can't wait to see what's next for the students at Indio High School.