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Addressing the Skills Gap between K-12 and College

U.S. public school systems have graduated hundreds of thousands of students in the past decade who couldn’t read, write or solve math problems well enough to take some college-level courses.

The problem is particularly acute in Florida where 54 percent of students who took the state college placement test needed remedial work in at least one subject, according to a recent Florida Center for Investigative Reports article. The national average for first-time students needing remediation is 40 percent.

Students who take remedial classes have a harder time getting through college. They must pay for basic-skills courses themselves. They do not receive credit toward graduation for remedial classes, and cannot take courses that do count for credit until their skills improve. The result for these students is a longer path to a college degree.

Florida has begun to address this remedial education problem. In fact, the number of high school students who are prepared for college work has improved some 10 points since 2003 when 64 percent of high school graduates failed at least one subject on the college entrance exam.

Merit’s college prep software has been used in Florida colleges during this period of improvement. It is available for pre-college students to use before they reach a college campus.

Merit covers a wide range of reading, writing, and math skills. The software is self-paced, and adaptive. Students advance as they demonstrate readiness. It provides immediate instuctional feedback for students, and built-in scoring features for teachers and students.

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