payamismyname:

Most high schoolers would rather go to Hogwarts than be in the X-Men. Here’s a question, do wizards consider mutants in the same category as muggles? Or are mutants a different species of muggle? Think about it.

payamismyname:

Most high schoolers would rather go to Hogwarts than be in the X-Men. Here’s a question, do wizards consider mutants in the same category as muggles? Or are mutants a different species of muggle? Think about it.

payamismyname:

If we could combine everyone’s dream pets together into a single animal, this is what it would look like. Llama-ferret-penguin-panda can walk like a panda and swim like a penguin. But he has the appetite of a ferret, so he’s easy on your wallet. No need to get an afterschool job just to pay for this guy’s meals! Spend that time studying instead. But you better be studying… his huge llama ears will hear you if you aren’t. And he doesn’t like that.

payamismyname:

If we could combine everyone’s dream pets together into a single animal, this is what it would look like. Llama-ferret-penguin-panda can walk like a panda and swim like a penguin. But he has the appetite of a ferret, so he’s easy on your wallet. No need to get an afterschool job just to pay for this guy’s meals! Spend that time studying instead. But you better be studying… his huge llama ears will hear you if you aren’t. And he doesn’t like that.

Analyzing Slader’s Data

Hey Sladerites!

My name’s Payam. I just graduated college with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. I’m Slader’s Data Scientist, taking a look at the wealth of data that Slader’s accumulated from the survey questions you’ve answered. Here’s 3 facts about me:

  • I’m from Long Island, New York.
  • I recently learned how to ride a longboard.
  • The longest I’ve ever held my breath is 2 minutes.

As your # 1 homework-help homies, we want to get to know you better, so that we can continue to help you learn and improve at school. 78.2% of respondents said that since using Slader, their grades have gotten better. Keep it up!

I’m sure that you’re also curious to learn more about the lives, activities, and thoughts of your fellow students across America. To this end, I’m going to post about what I find on this blog. I think you’ll be surprised by the results, so keep reading!

What is data?

So, what’s data? Data is just information. When you answer a survey question, you’re giving information. The question could be, “How old are you?” And you might answer with, “I am 17 years old.” The data is your age, and the value of that data is 17. It’s like when you solve for “x” in algebra. The value of “x” that you get in the end is information, or data, about “x”. My first post talks about how our data show that sometimes we can create peer pressure for ourselves when it’s not really there.  Stay tuned…

School’d: coordinated coursework and a year of growth

School’d is a series about the data we collect at Slader and what we’re learning from it.

Some of this data is pure novelty - fun stuff that we’ve become experts in from spending hours with our site and observing our users’ behavior.

Other learnings seem more significant - not just in terms of how we run our site, but in regards to how students today are learning, and how they’re using the Internet to support their learning.

Hundreds of thousands of students visit Slader.com each week to help them with their homework. They are here by choice, not at the urging of their parents, their schools, or their teachers, and they’re taking a proactive approach to their own learning.

What can we learn from them?

We recently started looking more closely at content holes in some of our more popular textbook offerings. As a result, we arrived at some simple charts that show content completion in a textbook against user consumption of the book’s content. The results of this exploration for a popular Geometry textbook are shown below.


The yellow lines moving across the chart over time are views of content on each page of the textbook. The blue lines show a snapshot of the completion percentage of each page on April 13, when this chart was generated. The completion of each page also changed over the course of the year, but for the purposes of this chart we’re showing a single date’s data. As users see holes, they fill them, and we’ll be able to use more of this intelligence to help guide contributions to the appropriate pages in this book.

This chart demonstrates two things we’re already well aware of at Slader, but it’s just so fun to see them in such a clear visual representation:

A. students across the country move through course material at a consistent pace. Near the start of the school year, on September 22, the viewing behavior clusters around page 100 with almost no viewing activity above page 200. By April 13th, the average curriculum using this textbook was around page 700. Among other advantages, this sort of insight into curriculum predictability allows us to know what users will need at a specific point in time and how we might be able to better offer related resources. It’s also entertaining to see how much our traffic drops off around the holidays!

B. we grew a LOT this year and this chart makes that pretty clear. The tight cluster on September 22 peaks around 2000 views on a single page. A wider peak in mid-April tops off around 5000 views per page. It’s exciting to see this growth on the scale of a single textbook in the course of a single year.

While this school year isn’t over yet, we’re looking forward to next school year - more growth and more opportunities to put this intelligence to use to benefit our users

Peter Bernheim is CTO of Slader.com. Questions? Comments? Something to add? Email me at peter.bernheim@slader.com

Update: Slader made the evening news:
http://www.tristatehomepage.com/story/d/story/alleged-cheating-prompts-school-to-stop-grading-ma/19240/laJD7e0PXEO8L5CdVeCG_w

The Slader equation editor - new and improved!

Our users wanted a more intelligent and sophisticated equation editor, so we made it!

Our primary goal at Slader is to make it as easy as possible for students to help and get help from their peers with their homework. Over the past month, we’ve been completely rebuilding our equation editor to make it even easier for students to upload solutions to their homework.

We’ll continue to improve the editor in the coming months with improved math editing abilities and enrichments to our base solution offering. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements!

Want to take the new editor for a spin? Check out an exercise detail page, like this one, and add a solution:

http://www.slader.com/textbook/9780030735462-modern-chemistry/311/section-2-review/2/#user-add-solution

Anonymous said: I do my work and write the result on a problem I'm solving and it says there is a problem with the Latex editor. I used the symbols that the editor still says it is wrong. I used \angle for the angle sign and \textdegree for the degree sign but it would not put the degree sign so wrote out degree. Could you please tell me what the problem is so I can solve it in time to get the bounty?

hey! sorry you’re running into issues; LaTeX can be tricky! Send us a note at support@slader.com and we’ll help you out!

A Semester at Slader

Hello Sladerites! As we’re now in our second full week of the second semester of the 2013-14 school year, we want to extend a huge thank you to all of our users for making the first semester a record-breaker for us. Here’s to a rockin’ Spring Semester ahead! Wahoo!!!

School’d: How many times a week do you have math homework?

School’d is a series about the data we collect at Slader and what we’re learning from it.

Some of this data is pure novelty - fun stuff that we’ve become experts in from spending hours with our site and observing our users’ behavior.

Other learnings seem more significant - not just in terms of how we run our site, but in regards to how students today are learning, and how they’re using the Internet to support their learning.

Hundreds of thousands of students visit Slader.com each week to help them with their homework. They are here by choice, not at the urging of their parents, their schools, or their teachers, and they’re taking a proactive approach to their own learning.

What can we learn from them?

One of the metrics that we pride ourselves on at Slader is the rate which our users return on a weekly basis. Homework isn’t a once a week thing; it comes throughout the week. We’ve spent quite a bit of time learning how our users use our site and how often they return; and we’ve learned how to keep them coming back. Using this knowledge, we can gain a pretty decent understanding of how often students have math homework.

Looking at a high traffic week in December (Dec 1-8), we can see how often students returned. A breakdown:

7 visits: 3%
6: 4%
5: 5%
4: 8%
3: 19%
2: 21%
1: 40% (of which 20% were first-time visits)

The 6 and 7 visit numbers are most likely more related to prolific contributors or site superusers who return often. But they are few and far between, as the numbers show. There aren’t many students who are going to be doing homework 6 or 7 nights a week! Also, it’s worth noting that the single visit numbers are somewhat inflated because 20% of these visits were users’ first time to Slader.

For all users, we arrive at an average visits per week of 2.32. So, Slader users most often have between 2 and 3 nights of math homework a night.


Now, let’s look at how this breaks down by state, to see if there are any patterns. Here we chart state against average visits. The red line denotes the global 2.32 average. Interesting to see that Alaska, Ohio, Rhode Island and Delaware show a clear above average visits per week. What’s that about? On the other end of the graph, Wyoming, New Hampshire, and Virginia each show only a 1 visit per week average. It would be interesting to compare these numbers to actual academic performance and look at how they work out over longer periods of time.


And, just out of curiosity, how do repeat visits differ by age? Above, we’re showing average visits per week against user’s age. Users aged 15, 21, and 22 are above the average visits per week. Freshman/Sophomore might have homework more often (but have relatively simple assignments), but there’s a large discrepancy between 14 and 15 year olds … perhaps just a random anomaly for the week in question. What seems clear is that high schoolers have more homework than middle schoolers, and college students have even more. And except for college, homework quantity seems to decrease as one’s class gets higher.

These are all interesting datas. It’s often argued that American students have too much homework. Doing math homework half of the nights in a week doesn’t quite seem excessive. But it’s interesting to see where the patterns diverge from the norm. From a site perspective, we’d love to have these users on the site more often. At the moment, we can expect to see a user 2 to 3 times a week, and we do, quite dependably. But how can we increase that? Are these students doing any sort of math or science on the other 2-3 nights a week?

Peter Bernheim is CTO of Slader.com. Questions? Comments? Something to add? Email me at peter.bernheim@slader.com

High schoolers and pot

Over at the NY Times, they’re reporting on a new study that says use of marijuana by high schoolers is on the rise:

"According to the latest federal figures, which were part of an annual survey, Monitoring the Future, more than 12 percent of eighth graders and 36 percent of seniors at public and private schools around the country said they had smoked marijuana in the past year. About 60 percent of high school seniors said they did not view regular marijuana use as harmful, up from about 55 percent last year."

Our own surveys have returned somewhat conflicting results, with most high schoolers reporting that they have not tried marijuana - only 23% of Slader users report that they have tried pot. This number is significantly lower than the 36% cited in the federal report.

Our results show that most students believe more of their friends have tried marijuana than they report themselves having tried. The results are uniform across the country, with no concentrations of reported marijuana use in a specific state or region.

Complete results of the Slader survey are below:

Have you tried marijuana?
Yes, regular user: 128 (6%)
Yes, semi-regularly: 166 (7%)
Yes, once or twice: 226 (10%)
No: 1754 (73%)

What percent of your friends do you believe have tried marijuana?
All my friends: 139 (6%)
More than half my friends: 460 (20%)
25%-50%: 480 (21%)
Less than 25%: 674 (30%)
None: 578 (26%)

Survey based on a total of 2274 respondents