Can The Rise Of College Student Dropout Rates Be Stopped? and how Merit can help!

Only 55 percent of first-time U.S. college students in 2008 completed a degree in 6 years, according to a recent report by the National Student Clearinghouse. This poor performance impacts not only the future of students but of institutions themselves. Ranking, reputation, and the bottom line can be affected.

To stem the dropout rate, many institutions are turning to web-facing services to improve learning and to support students to stay in school and complete their degrees. Here are two examples of technology-based tactics, as outlined by eCampus News, that can keep students in college and help them graduate.

  1. Online and blended learning: This tactic is good for remediation and course-credit recovery. It combines online coursework with in-person interaction and real-time class discussions.
  2. Monitoring, assessment, and early alert: These evaluate risk factors and develop appropriate interventions.

This is where Merit comes in.

In Merit programs, strategies have been developed and implemented both to prepare students for college and to provide remediation to college students who require it.

Merit offers online programs in college prep reading comprehension, process writing, grammar, and vocabulary.

With Merit, student progress is automatically tracked in an easy-to-use-tool for students and instructors. Results can be viewed on line and discussed in real time. Built-in tips and hints support students while they work.

Learn more about Merit Software

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:

How to Capitalize on the New SAT

Answers to the testIn 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.

Need for College Remediation Linked to Before High School Performance

There is a clear link between college remediation needs and how well students performed before entering high school, according to data released by the New York City Department of Education.

This analysis was published in a recent New York Times article about how many graduates of top rated New York City high schools need remedial help when they go to college. Education officials plan to change the way high schools are ranked to reflect their students future college remediation needs.

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