Middle School Students Make Striking Gains Using Merit Educational Software

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Marshall University faculty to present new research at West Virginia middle school conference April 29th.

In response to calls for schools to improve students’ academic performance, consultants from the Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston, West Virginia evaluated Merit Software, http://www.meritsoftware.com, to determine its value as a curriculum supplement. Their research showed that by using Merit educational software as a supplement to everyday instruction, middle school students made striking gains in their reading, writing, and math scores. These new findings will be presented at the West Virginia Association for Middle Level Education conference April 29th at the Stonewall Jackson Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia.

At 11AM on Saturday, April 29th, Marshall faculty members Dr. Jerry Jones and Dr. Sam Securro will present the results of their research in a talk entitled "Technology That Is Making a Difference in WV Middle Schools." Additionally, teachers and administrators who worked with the software will speak about their experience, and demonstrate how they used Merit programs to improve students' reading, writing, and math skills.

The research consisted of separate studies conducted by Marshall University consultants. One study monitored the progress of students using Merit's reading and writing programs at Calhoun Middle/High School in Mount Zion, West Virginia. Based on success at Calhoun, another study was initiated, which examined students' progress while using Merit Math programs at Horace Mann Middle School in Charleston, West Virginia.

In the Calhoun study, students using Merit reading software improved their standardized test scores by more than 10.0% with just 6 hours of use. Surprisingly, the improvements carried over to other curriculum areas including math. The impact of the software was not just a one-time phenomenon as gains continued in the second year of use. In the Horace Mann study, Merit math software improved the treatment group student’s math scores and, again, results transferred over to other subjects.

These studies show that long-term gains can be achieved with relatively non-intensive and non-invasive interventions such as those produced by Merit. These results are very important for educators pressured to improve students’ reading, writing, and math scores to meet state standards.

"The evidence clearly shows that with Merit Software teachers have an incredibly powerful tool for developing students' abilities in core skill areas," said Dr. Jones.

About Merit Software: Merit Software, http://www.meritsoftware.com, has published exceptional educational software since 1983. The programs are designed to build the core competencies that students require to succeed. Merit programs are currently used for English and math instruction in thousands of educational institutions worldwide.

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Ben Weintraub
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