Is Slader Helping or Hurting?

April 10, 2016

Most students have probably used Slader at least once. Slader is a website containing the answers to all the questions in a math textbook. The answer to any book question, whether it be from Algebra or AP Stats, is only a few clicks away.

This website has gained popularity significantly in the last two years. Previously answers used to only be posted by math teachers and tutors, but now the site has a peer-to-peer plan. Every question on the website is answered by fellow high school students. Slader’s mission statement is, “A place for students and subject enthusiasts to share their knowledge and expertise with their peers; it’s a study group based in the 21st century.”

However, given the recent cheating scandal, it begs the question; Is Slader really helping high school students?

“Kids need to be smart enough to know that if they have the answers in front of them, they can use that as a way to help them,” explains Mr. Wirsbinski, a math teacher who allows his students to use Slader. Studies have shown that peer-to-peer study increases a student’s retention span, gives a chance to explore other views on a certain topic, and boosts motivation.

But like with any story, there are two sides. With answers to almost any math question at your fingertips, copying down answers is a common occurrence and it is happening here at Eagan High School. “I have seen a dip in students’ AP scores last year, and I’m nervous it’s going to happen again,” explains Mrs. Gillen, AP Calculus teacher and head of the math department. “With copying answers down from Slader, you really are just hurting yourself for the future,” Mr. Wirsbinski adds.

Students often check on Slader to see how to start the answer. “Even I can show you how to start but you need to struggle with it, that’s the way we learn,” says Mrs. Gillen.

The true purpose of an exam is to test a student’s knowledge on a particular subject. The purpose of a test is no longer there when the student can just look up answers to avoid homework. The website won’t be there for you when taking tests, final exams or the AP exam, which count a lot more than homework does. It brings a whole new light to cheating.

What do you think? Does Slader really help or hurt?

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