New Enhancements to Punch Writing Programs

Merit is pleased to announce new enhancements to its Punch process writing programs including Paragraph Punch, Open Punch, and Essay Punch.

Students who have completed a written work may now edit it by logging into their Online Portfolios.

The Post Published Editing tool allows users to see the current state of their work, review past versions, and print their newly updated paragraphs. The paragraph as it was initially published will be preserved both on the Published Paragraph screen, and on the Post Published Edits screen under the title “Original.”

New-Punch-Tools

The improved editing functionality has been seamlessly integrated into the software and is backwardly compatible with all previously completed written works.

Learn more about the Punch writing programs:

Starter Paragraph Punch

Paragraph Punch

Open Punch

Essay Punch

 

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It’s Time to Level the Playing Field So More Students Can Compete Academically

While students respond positively to teachers who set high academic expectations, teachers often fail to set these expectations for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A report from the Center for American Progress entitled “The Power of the Pygmalion Effect” indicates that teacher expectations strongly predict college completion.

Data suggest that more needs to be done to improve teachers’ instructional skills and to dispel social stereotypes.

Teachers do not get the rigorous training they need and most teacher prep programs do not give training in high-performing, high-poverty schools, according to the report.

This is where Merit fits in.

Merit programs provide detailed coverage of the core competencies students require to succeed.

Concepts in reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary are covered from the basics to higher levels. Built-in hints and tips support students while they work.

Progress is automatically monitored in an easy-to-use tracking tool for instructors.

The software is adaptive and adjusts to a suitable level of challenge with minimal teacher intervention.

Learn more at www.meritsoftware.com

 

 

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The High Price of Colleges’ Failures

Happy businessman with laptop smilingRecent college graduates who are struggling to start careers are being hurt by their lack of learning, according to Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, authors of the groundbreaking book, “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.”

In the original study, the authors had a sample of four-year undergraduates take the Collegiate Learning Assessment during their freshman year. The same students then took the CLA again during their senior year, and their scores saw very little change. The test includes essay-based critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and communication skills questions.

A recently published follow-up study of the same students,tracking them for two years following graduation, found skills measured by high-scoring CLA students had made a significant difference to finding and keeping a first job.

Students who had higher CLA scores had spent more time studying alone and took classes where teachers enforced high expectations, such as writing long papers.

Low CLA scoring students were twice as likely to lose their jobs as high CLA students, implying employers can tell who got a good college education and who did not. Low CLA scoring graduates were also 50 percent more likely to end up in an unskilled occupation, and were less likely to be satisfied with their jobs.

Articles about the follow-up study are here, here, and here.

Merit Software helps build the skills that are highly correlated with high CLA scores, including critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and communications skills.

Merit programs provide detailed coverage of the core competencies students require to succeed. Concepts in reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary are covered from the basics to higher levels.

Built-in hints and tips support students while they work. Progress is automatically monitored in an easy-to-use tracking tool for instructors. The software is adaptive and adjusts to a suitable level of challenge with minimal teacher intervention.

Recommended resources:

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Merit’s New UI Changes

 

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Merit is pleased to announce the recent rollout of several user interface changes to its online learning platform.

Among the changes are: a flexible design, based on the dimensions of the users screen display; larger font sizes; and crisper, clearer buttons.

The new look may be seen by trying any full-working demo from a Merit program’s web page.

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How to Capitalize on the New SAT

How to capitalize on the new SATIn 2016, the SAT exams will be modified from their present longstanding format. Because of these changes, conventional test preparation will be less valuable to test takers.

Relevant words, the meanings of which depend on how they are used in context, will be emphasized, and fewer, if any, obscure vocabulary words will be included.

In addition, the new test is no longer designed to discourage guessing. This move to rights-only scoring will encourage students to give the best answer they can to every problem.

Finally, the writing section of the test will be optional, although some colleges will require it.

Bottom line: Skills will be more valued than test prep “strategies.” This is where Merit Software comes in.

Merit programs provide detailed coverage of the core competencies students require to succeed. Concepts in reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary are covered from the basics to higher levels, providing an ideal base for succeeding on the SAT exams.

SAT scores have long been tied higher incomes.  In an effort to even the playing field The College Board has partnered with Kahn Academy to make test prep free to all students.

However, it is important to have more than one source when honing academic skills. Merit’s effective, efficient, and affordable methods of instruction will be indispensable for preparation for the new SAT.

Merit’s English College Prep Web Suite consists of a group of Merit online learning programs bundled together, selected to improve students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and grammar skills.

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Does Digital Reading Hurt Reading Comprehension?

SReading online may be causing people to skim rather than read in depth according to one expert.

With the vast amount of information that comes in onto people’s computers and mobile devices, reading online is causing people to skim rather than read in depth in order to keep up.

Online reading is not necessarily superficial. Merit Software’s online products are in-depth interactive learning tools. In Merit’s Reading Comprehension Booster, for example, online context clues and multiple activities reinforce learning.

Click here to read the article.

Learn more about Reading Comprehension Booster.

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Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students

Top 32 Tips to help students teaching at-risk studentsAcademic achievement by 8th grade is the largest predictor of college success according to the recent White House report “Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students.”

Merit has a strong track record of improving academic performance in elementary and middle school. The programs also help older students who have not mastered 8th level skills get on-track.

In Merit reading comprehension programs students acquire vocabulary through context, draw conlusions based on relevant information, and learn to find the main idea in a text.

Merit’s Punch writing programs help students write clear, descriptive sentences, organize ideas, and develop paragraphs and essays.

Grammar Fitness helps students with tenses, usage, irregular noun plurals, correction split constructions, and the like.

Click here to read the report “Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students”

Learn more about Merit:

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New Research Says Grades, Not SATs, Predict College Success

A recent study involving 33 private colleges and universities and the records of 123,000  students and alumni indicates that students who have low or modest SAT-type test scores but good high school grades do better in college than those with good scores but modest grades.

Merit products are known for improving academic performance in schools. The programs develop critical thinking and academic skills.

Merit’s Punch writing programs help students write clear, descriptive sentences, organize ideas, and develop paragraphs and essays.

Grammar Fitness helps students with tenses, usage, irregular noun plurals, correcting split constructions, and the like.

In Merit reading programs students acquire vocabulary through context, draw conclusions based on relevant information, and learn to find the main idea in a text.

Learn more about Merit:

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Merit upgrades to new servers

Merit Software is pleased to announce that it recently completed server upgrades to its Merit Online Learning platform.

The upgrades have moved Merit Online to a new cloud-hosting platform on which the software runs at least three times faster than before. Many issues that had affected students’ ability to use the programs were also addressed and fixed.

As Merit Online attracts more users, the company wants to expand its infrastructure capabilities. By upgrading the servers, the company has taken steps toward meeting the needs of students, who use the software in a variety of educational settings.

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Thank You for Your Votes

Merit Logo TransWe are pleased to report Merit made the 250-vote eligibility threshold for the Chase Mission Main Street grant.

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