IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider – Check out SimpleCert!

According to IRS.gov, “The Annual Filing Season Program is intended to recognize and encourage unenrolled tax return preparers who voluntarily increase their knowledge and improve their filing season competency through continuing education (CE).”  As an IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider, that’s where you come in…to provide those 16 hours of continued education per year! The content is your bailiwick, but we can help you create the certificate of completion. You are required to give tax preparers who attend your program a certificate of completion. To help you with this process, we have a NEW updated template that meets all the requirements listed on the IRS Sample Certificate.

SimpleCert IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider Certificate Template
The beauty of SimpleCert is that once you update the IRS template with your CE Provider Name and Address, as well as add your Designated Officer Name and signature, all you need is an excel file with the data merge fields that will change for each program. You can even use the same IRS Provider Excel Template that you use to submit your participants’ information through your online CE provider account! The parts that change: Program Name, IRS Issued Program Number, CE Hours Awarded, Program Completion Date, Location, and Email are all merge fields that SimpleCert uses to create your participants’ certificates.

Once set up, it takes seconds to create and email your certificates. It’s that simple! SimpleCert stores all your certificates for your program as a single project for your records. This includes the master certificate of completion and all records of who completed programs and when. Did you know you need to keep these records for a period of four years? See Standard No.13 for a complete list of records to be kept in the event you ever get audited!

Now that SimpleCert is here to help with your certificate management, you can sleep soundly at night! If you wish to apply to become an IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider, please visit IRS CE Provider. Are you a NASBA CPE Sponsor? If so, you may become a CE provider recognized for continuing education purposes by an IRS CE accrediting organization.

 

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An Experiment Shows that Certificates Encourage Students to Attend After-School Tutoring Sessions

“We found that the students in the certificate group attended 42.5 percent more of their allocated tutoring hours than students in the control group.”

We found the following article that quantitatively shows that certificates of recognition encourage Students, read below:

Matthew G. Springer, Vanderbilt University

Many parts of the federal education law called No Child Left Behind were highly visible, but one of the less known provisions, the Supplemental Educational Services provision set aside funds to allow low-income students in poorly performing schools to get free access to after-school tutoring. Research has found that the benefits of this provision vary, depending on location and the types of providers offering tutoring services. But regardless of benefits, low attendance has been a consistent problem. Using a randomized experiment, my colleagues and I set out to test whether students eligible for tutoring would attend sessions more regularly if they got either certificates of praise or money for doing so.

How the Study Worked

We randomly selected 300 5th to 8th grade students in a large southern urban school district who were eligible to receive supplemental educational services. Prior studies found tutoring services in this district to be relatively high quality. To see whether use of those services could be improved, we randomly assigned students in our study to one of three subgroups:

  • Students in one group got a reward of $100 (distributed via an online platform) for consistent attendance at tutoring sessions.
  • Students in a second group got certificates of recognition for consistent attendance, signed by the school’s district superintendent and mailed to their homes.
  • Students in the third group were a control group, whose members received no experimental incentives.

Praise Matters More Than Money

Our results were striking. The students who were offered up to $100 for regular attendance were no more likely to attend tutoring sessions than if students were offered nothing at all. However, when we offered students and their parents a certificate, attendance went dramatically up. Students in the certificate group attended about 40 percent more of their tutoring hours than students in the control group who got no rewards or praise.

Our results parallel those from prior studies, where paying students and teachers for higher test scores proved ineffective. However, those earlier studies were not a definitive test of monetary rewards, because teachers and students might have lacked the knowledge or support they needed to improve test scores. In other words, you can offer a man more money to catch more fish, but he will not be able to claim the money if you don’t help him improve his fishing skills.

In our study of attendance at tutoring sessions, the situation was different. We offered money to students who attended regularly – and when they got to their tutoring sessions, there was someone to help them improve their skills in reading and math. The ambiguity that plagued interpretation of the experiments where teachers and students were offered money to improve test scores does not hold for our experiment.

Although the benefits of the monetary incentives were negligible, we found that the students in the certificate group attended 42.5 percent more of their allocated tutoring hours than students in the control group. This is a very strong effect – and the impact of offering the certificate for good attendance was especially strong for female students, who attended significantly more of their allocated tutoring hours than male students who were also offered certificates.

Policy Implications

Policymakers and practitioners seeking to increase attendance of tutoring sessions and other underutilized student supports should note how cost effective it is to offer certificates. In our study, providing the certificates cost about $9 for each student who completed all of the tutoring sessions. The cost for monetary rewards was obviously much more – more than $100 for each student who completed all the allocated hours. In short, the certificate intervention is more than 6,000 times more cost-effective than the monetary incentive. Our estimates are rough and paint an extreme picture. But they illustrate an important conclusion: non-monetary incentives can both work better than doling out money and can be a lot cheaper way to nudge students toward educational success.

Even so, the results of our experiment do not offer a comprehensive answer to an ongoing puzzle: Would it work to offer certificates of recognition to try to motivate many kinds of desirable student behavior?  Using certificates might not work as well if they were more widely used, because economic theory suggests that the value ascribed to a certificate of recognition would likely have diminishing marginal utility – that is, students would care less about earning these certificates if they were awarded all the time to reward all kinds of things teachers and parents want students to do.

Even in our own study, it might be that a second certificate of recognition would not have the same impact as the first. Furthermore, earning a certificate of recognition might not matter as much to a student who consistently brings home excellent report cards as it would to a student who earns lower grades. In real world applications, educators using non-monetary incentives may need to take such possible diminishing returns into account.

Even so, our results should inspire measured enthusiasm. Many other experiments with student incentives have registered disappointing results, but we found something that works well at very low cost. Educators should try incentives of this sort to boost participation in underutilized programs. And our study should also inspire researchers to do more nuanced and imaginative research on student incentives.

Read more in Matthew Springer, “Monetary vs. Non-Monetary Student Incentives for Tutoring Services: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” (with Brooks Rosenquist and Walker Swain). Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 8 (2015):453-474.                        

www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org                                                                                                      April 2016

This article was originally published on Scholars Strategy Network. Read the original article.

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Are you a NSCA® CEU Provider?

Create your certificates with SimpleCert!

Now that we understand some of the benefits of why becoming a provider is beneficial (see last post), let’s look more closely as CEU providers, for example we wrote about NASBA.

We believe that continuous education allows individuals to improve their craft and stay present as there will always be improvements, advancements, skills, and changes. For example, we came across NSCA® – National Strength and Conditioning Association.


They provide certification for the following programs:

• The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®)
• The Certified Special Population Specialist® (CSPS®)
• The NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer® (NSCA-CPT®)
• The Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator® (TSAC-F®)

To stay compliant and be able to re-certify every 3 years, trainers/facilitators/specialist have the option to take an exam or complete and report continuing education units (CEUs) . Depending on when your original certification date is, you may have to earn up to 6.0 CEUs. In their world of strength and conditioning, scientific knowledge, techniques in training, and new equipment are ever changing. Certification is a way to testify that these individuals are competent.

As a NSCA® CEU provider you have enough on your plate to seek CEU approval of your activity and meet the requirements of the application process. Let SimpleCert help with easily creating the certificate you need to provide once individuals have demonstrated completion of your approved activity. Once you create this certificate in SimpleCert, adding your logo and own design, you may reuse the certificate template for all your activities. Just have participant’s name, activity name, and date all be merge fields in your template.

And although each participant has to report activity directly to NSCA and maintain their own records. Using SimpleCert is an easy way to have them log into your account and keep their documentation on file through our attendee portal and administrative STORE module.

Thank you, NSCA® and its providers for dedicating your organizations to improving, helping, and researching ways to advance the strength and conditioning professional’s knowledge that in-turn helps others find ways to improve their health.

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How Award Certificate Templates Can Help Motivate Students

A certificate of recognition for a job well done is a great way to stimulate follow-through and reinforce participation. To reward a student with something tangible like a certificate allows the student to display his or her accomplishments. They can show their parents, siblings, peers and most importantly themselves, by hanging it up on their wall. It is also a great way motivate students to set higher expectations for themselves and their peers. Implementing a reward program is beneficial not only for the student but for those around them.

  • The student is acknowledged for a specific behavior. This makes the student feel connected and valued, which is a basic human need.
  • When a student is positively reinforced (by receiving a reward), this motivates others around them to want to succeed as well.
  • The achieving student realizes what he or she can accomplish and this motivates them to continue to want to succeed.

SimpleCert makes it easy to create student award certificates such as: Math Wonder, Rocket Scientist Award, Best Handwriting Award, Grammar Master, Reading Rockstar, Perfect Attendance Award, Best Citizenship Award, Most Improved Award, Most Valuable Player, Student of the Month Award to name a few.

Certificates can also reward the giver…..

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Certificate of the Month Program

Hello to the SimpleCert Community!  Frequent readers of this blog will know that we go to great effort here  to provide you with tips, tricks and updates on how to make SimpleCert work even harder for you.  For today’s blog, we have exciting news!  Instead of another blog on upcoming feature enhancements, It’s time for us to highlight and showcase you. 

Today we are pleased to announce the creation of a new program that is designed to showcase you, the regular weekly users of SimpleCert, and the various and creative ways that you have utilized SimpleCert to work for you.  We’re calling it the “Certificate of the Month” program, and each month we will recognize one of you as our official Certificate of the Month.

Our goal in launching this program is simple:  We’ve been continually impressed and amazed at the creativity, and professionalism that some of you have utilized to create your certificate templates.  Some that we have seen are flat out awesome in their design and effectiveness.  We feel that by showcasing some of the best uses of SimpleCert, we can inspire and help others out there with ideas of how to make their own unique certificate masterpiece.

Our criteria for selecting a Certificate of the Month is fairly straight forward.  Entrants will be reviewed by our (ahem) esteemed panel of judges, with attention paid to creativity, use of graphics and design, and the effective use of elements of SimpleCert to achieve the greatest levels of automation  Also, to be considered for the certificate of the Month, the CertSet must have been used in at least one Project.  If you’d like your certificate to be considered for the Certificate of the Month program, or you know of someone who you want to nominate, send an email to inquiries@simplecert.co .  Be sure to include the company URL and title of the CertSet that you are nominating.  Lucky winners of the Certificate of the Month program will receive 250 credits to their account!

So be sure to check out the new Certificate of the Month page on our website, here.  We’ll add winners to this page as they are announced.  We’d also like to add a special congratulations to our inaugural winner to this program, Kris Cerone, from Escondido Adult School!  Great job Kris!

As always, our thanks go out to all of you in the SimpleCert community, for your trust, advice and help.   And be sure to enter the Certificate of the Month program!  It’s a great way to earn some recognition and respect from your peers, plus a few free credits.  And who knows?  Maybe we’ll even create and send you a certificate if you win!

The SimpleCert Crew

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Need help with your Certificate Template? Support is now just a click away

Happy Thanksgiving to the SimpleCert community! You will remember in our Sept 14 blog that this fall has seen many updates to how users can design and complete certificate templates from within the Build Module of SimpleCert.  Please do be sure to read thru the past blogs to stay up to stay informed of these improvements – and we’re not done with updates just yet!  Our thanks as always go to many of you who have sent us your ideas and suggestions, on how to make SimpleCert work better for you.

One great update is the ability for you to contact SimpleCert support from directly within the tool itself.  Let’s say for example you are building a Diploma Certificate and need help with a merge variable item; or perhaps as part of your certificate template you have an unusual design that you need help with.  Instead of exiting the tool and going back to the website to contact support, it’s now easy to click on the “Contact Support” link directly on the top right side of the tool.  Regardless of where you are in the tool, the “Contact Support“ link will always be right there and available to you.Contact Support

In the end our goal is to make the creation of your certificate template, and the distribution of your certificates, as easy as possible.  Whether you are taking a blank certificate and using that as the basis for your certificate template, or utilizing one of the many templates that are automatically available for you from within the tool, we understand you have better things to do than to spend hours upon hours  managing your certificate distribution program!  So use SimpleCert, keep the feedback coming, and get on with more important items in your life!

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
The SimpleCert Team

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Time for Updates at SimpleCert!

Time for Updates at SimpleCert!

It’s time for updates at SimpleCert! Like many places, it’s a truth here that after a busy spring  season, our brains turn to mush and we have no choice but to find creative ways to spend time at the beach, or the mountains, or at a concert… anywhere to refill the creative coffers and rest our weary heads.  Preferably with a tasty beverage in hand.  Coming out of Labor Day and with summer now behind us, our team is rested, refreshed, and focused exclusively on ways to make SimpleCert an even better tool for your certificate creation needs.

If you read our last post from July, you know that you can now add attachments to your notification emails in your certificate templates!  This update was requested by one of you in the SimpleCert community, and has already proved to be a great feature enhancement for many.  Following along those steps, we’re happy to announce 2 MORE improvements that we think you will love:

  • For those of you that manage multiple certificate templates as a part of your subscription, you know that it’s an easy process to add additional Cert Sets to your account.  Now there’s an easy way to copy an existing certificate as a template when adding a new Certificate Template to your account!  From within the Build Module, simply purchase a new Cert set for your account – and then just click on the “Duplicate” icon that’s on the top left corner of your already existing Cert Set.  Presto! CertSet  A new Certificate Template that’s a copy of your existing Cert Set, that you can now easily customize.  We realize that for many of you who do manage multiple certificate programs, being able to utilize an existing design when creating a new template is a great way to save time and energy.  No more starting with a blank Certificate!
  • If you look closely in the Certificate builder when you are clicking on a text or data field, you’ll notice our next feature enhancement on the top right corner of the building area: A button that says when you hover over it: “Align Center”.  With this new feature, when you are adding or editing a field on your certificate and click this button, that field will automatically be aligned in the center of your certificate.  AlignCenterBAM! Go ahead and file this one under “Why didn’t you think of this before?”, you won’t hurt our feelings.  But we hope it helps as you continue to build your certificate masterpieces.

Be sure to check back here again soon for further updates – there are several others in the works that we will be releasing soon.  And don’t forget if you ever need help building your certificate templates you can reach out to support@simplecert.co at any point.  And remember you can also check out our tutorials and how-too videos on our YouTube channel at any point for great tips and pointers.

Happy Certificating!

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John Oliver needs a Certificate Tool!

John Oliver 1John Oliver needs a certificate tool!

We are huge fans of John Oliver and his hit show “Last Week Tonight”, and so we couldn’t  help but laugh even harder during the June 12th episode when John Oliver announced his staff had created 2 certificates for fans who could download them.  After downloading the certificates ourselves we feel it our moral and (ahem) professional duty to politely point out that John Oliver needs a Certificate Tool for his certification needs!

Instead of handwriting a person’s name on a certificate, think of how good it will look to have each name printed out, and a part of the certificate!  Imagine being able to automatically email certificates instead of printing each one of them. Imagine giving your recipients the ability to store and access their certificate(s) through an online portal… for free!  We think the producers of last Week Tonight would love to see who accessed their certificate(s) and who they issued a certificate to (maybe John Oliver will want to send out more Elf Spotting certifications in the future, who knows.. work with us here!) Whether is certificates of completion, or elf spotting certificates, SimpleCert has you covered!

All kidding aside, our point is this – WHEN you have a need to create and distribute certificates for whatever purpose, look no further than SimpleCert.  SimpleCert gives you the ability to create and distribute professional certificates – all within an efficient and easy to use program.   And don’t forget you can always reach out to support@simplecert.co with any questions you may have – we’re even happy to help you with creating your certificate.  If anyone from Last Week Tonight happens to read this, we’d LOVE to help create an even better Elf Spotting certificate!  Bring it!

john oliver needs a certificate tool!

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