Chances for College Success Improve by Using Merit Reading and Writing Software

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Recent research by ACT encourages targeted interventions, such as those produced by Merit, to help students who have fallen behind in their reading skills.

A new report by ACT says that experience with complex reading texts in high school is the key to development of college-level reading skills. The report calls for schools to provide targeted interventions to help high school students who have fallen behind in their reading skills. Merit Software,, has been producing targeted interventions to help high school students improve their reading skills for many years. Recently released research about Merit reading and writing software demonstrates its effectiveness as a supplement to secondary school instruction. Merit is one of the few proven resources available to help students who have fallen behind their reading skills. Using Merit as a supplement to everyday instruction will increase faltering students’ chances for success in college and the workplace.

Merit is widely used in middle schools, high schools, community colleges, and adult education programs to help troubled readers. Merit 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. Multiple forms of assistance are available for students when they encounter areas of difficulty. Scores are automatically tracked for teachers to monitor individual progress.

Using Merit reading and writing software as a supplement increases reading and writing skills for low achieving students, according to a recently released study by researchers at the Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston, West Virginia. The consultants carefully monitored the progress of students at Calhoun Middle/High School in Mount Zion, West Virginia, where the software was used for two years in a row. The lowest twenty-five percent of treatment group students made greater test score gains than students who did not use the software. The study is among the first longitudinal research evaluations to show gains in reading and writing test scores when teaching with computer assisted instruction in schools.

“While research generally confirms that the effective use of educational software is consistent with higher standardized test scores, the lack of rigor in the design of many of these earlier studies raises questions about their findings,” says Dr. J. D. Jones, lead researcher for the study. “It is clear Merit reading and writing software had a positive impact on the achievement of struggling students.”

The report is a follow-up to a previous study, which showed that students using Merit Software made significant gains in their standardized test scores. By continuing to use Merit reading and writing software as a supplement to everyday instruction, students continued to raise their test scores. Low achieving students made continuous advances in Reading/Language Arts compared to the control group.

In the previous study, students using Merit reading and language arts software programs increased growth in their Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition (SAT-9) Reading Vocabulary score by an average of 13.1% and their Reading Comprehension score by 10.5%. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Research on Technology in Education, a peer-reviewed academic journal.

About Merit Software: Merit Software ( is an experienced publisher of educational software. Since 1983, Merit Software has focused on the core competencies for grades 3-12 and adult education. Merit Software is currently being used in thousands of educational facilities.


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Ben Weintraub
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