Merit Software Reading Programs Shown to Increase Standardized Test Scores - University Analysts Provide Scientifically Based Research Evidence

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Merit Software is pleased to announce the results of a research study using its leading educational software products conducted by the Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston, West Virginia. Merit commissioned consultants at Marshall to conduct a control versus treatment group research study in 2003 utilizing several of its reading and language arts software in classrooms at the Calhoun County Middle/High School in West Virginia. Students achieve significant gains with just 6 hours of use.

Merit Software is pleased to announce the results of a research study using its leading educational software products conducted by the Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston, West Virginia. Merit commissioned consultants at Marshall to conduct a control versus treatment group research study in 2003 utilizing several of its reading and language arts software in classrooms at the Calhoun County Middle/High School in West Virginia. The purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of Merit programs used for six hours by students in grades 6 and 8.

The results of the study showed that treatment group students scored better than the control group on several sub-tests of the West Virginia standardized test. Compared to the control group, students in the treatment group increased their Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition (SAT-9) Reading Vocabulary score by 13.1% of the total sample mean and their Reading Comprehension score by 10.5%.

For more information regarding this study, visit http://www.meritsoftware.com/merit_calhoun_summary.pdf

“These results show that Merit Software is a remarkably useful intervention for educators faced with meeting the demands of high-stakes testing with limited resources,” says Dr. Jerry Jones the project's lead researcher.

"This study is important for teachers for two main reasons. First, it is one of the first studies to show the use of a software program improves text reading comprehension. Second, the scientifically based research requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act has forced teachers to seek products that have been proven to work through a rigorous independent analysis. We are pleased to make this contribution," says Ben Weintraub, CEO of Merit Software.

The Merit Software programs selected for the evaluation were: Accu-Reading, Grammar Fitness, Vocabulary Fitness and Developing Critical Thinking Skills for Effective Reading. The programs are self-paced tutorials. Students see the immediate impact of their replies to questions. Often, they are given explanations for their responses, whether the answer is right or wrong. The use of higher levels of cognitive thinking is required for students to use the programs.

Calhoun County Middle/High School was chosen as a test site primarily because the school district has demonstrated a strong initiative in adopting innovative ideas to improve instruction. It also has a stable, albeit impoverished, population. Participating students spent at least six hours on the computer with a Merit Software program in the course of a month. Variables that were monitored included the number of times a participating student used a Merit software program.

Teachers at the school selected which classes would participate in the evaluation and which would act as a control group, receiving their regular instruction. Students were assigned to their classes the previous summer by the school district’s classroom management software.

For more information regarding Merit Software and their full line of educational software, please visit http://www.meritsoftware.com.

ABOUT MERIT SOFTWARE: Located in New York, Merit Software (http://www.meritsoftware.com) is a leading publisher of children’s educational software. For over fifteen years, Merit Software has focused on the core competencies for grades 3-12 and adult education. Merit Software is a favorite of educators, students and parents nationwide and is currently being used in thousands of educational facilities. Designed with an emphasis on ease of use plus maximum instructional content, Merit Software offers a comprehensive suite of products targeted to educational excellence.

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Kristina Junger-Godfrey
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