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Can Changing Reading and Writing Instruction Raise SAT Scores?

SAT reading scores in 2011 were the lowest on record. This is the second time in the past two decades that reading scores have fallen as much in a single year.

It is well known that middle and high school students are reading less at home and rarely write letters anymore. Could greater use of technology strengthen reading and writing instruction in schools and raise SAT scores? We think so.

Merit Software is successfully used in many schools at the late elementary, secondary, and college prep levels. Rigorous research has been conducted on Merit as a supplement to everyday instruction. The evidence shows it increases standardized test scores without directly teaching to the test.

Merit reading and writing software prepares students for post-high-school work and provides personal remedial activities for students who need extra help.

Teachers have observed that students who write a well-considered persuasive essay with Merit’s Essay Punch and ace eighth-grade-level comprehension and academic vocabulary questions in Merit’s Reading Skill Builder are well on the way to being able to handle college material.

Plus, as Merit has expanded its web-based offerings, teachers are able to benefit from even greater levels of reliability and support from our staff. Application hosting and student enrollments are now handled by Merit. Schools no longer need an IT person to set up their use of the software. They can also gradually phase in use of the programs with just a few students or classes at a time.

More students took the SAT in 2011 than ever before. Bob Wise, the president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and a former governor of West Virginia, says the increase in the number of students taking the SAT is a positive sign.

However, the results clearly show the need for a lot more work in K-12 schools. “The workforce needs and skill needs in our society are rising, unfortunately, much faster than our SAT or ACT scores,” Wise said.

By using Merit Software’s reading and writing instructional products in schools, along with Merit’s top-notch training and professional development support, educators can help students improve their college readiness.