Merit Award Program
DECA’s Merit Awards Program (MAP) provides avenues outside the competitive event structure for individual members to engage in a graduated program of competency based self-improvement activities. The program handbook “maps” a self-directed path for exploring marketing and increasing marketing expertise — from the bronze level (knowledge) through the silver (analysis) to the gold (interpretation). With MAP, students receive recognition for their accomplishments on the local, state and national levels.
The Merit Award Program (MAP) was designed to strengthen the instructional areas offered in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, and to give each DECA member an opportunity to work on self-improvement activities. MAP recognizes the ability, interest and creativity of the individual DECA member.
The objective of MAP is to increase the employability of the individual in marketing, finance, hospitality and management fields and to develop an awareness of these areas as a career choice. The program is intended to develop a better understanding of the importance of entrepreneurship, product and service knowledge, and customer satisfaction.
December 9, 2020 – Bronze level names must be submitted on the Google Reporting Form so members can be recognized at the District Conference. (This is entirely optional.)
February 1, 2021 – Names for all levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) must be submitted on the Google Reporting Form in order to be eligible for a certificates after the State Conference.
February 11, 2021 – A digital copy (PDF) of all Merit Award Projects must be uploaded to the online Written Entry Portal.
Update January 2021: Hard copies no longer needed.
February 11, 2021 – A hard copy of all Merit Award Projects must be delivered/dropped off to the Michigan DECA office for screening.
The following summary of standards are in effect for the Merit Award Program.
- All students competing at the State Conference MUST be included on the chapter’s conference registration.
All 22 activities must fit within a 1-inch official DECA binder [Shop DECA SKU: DSB-1]. Only the original project needs to be submitted to Michigan DECA for screening by February 11, 2021. (Additional copies are not required.)
- Merit Awards Projects will need to be uploaded to the Chapter Registration Portal by the chapter advisor by February 11, 2021. The upload will need to be in one file that includes all levels and all activities in each level. Complete instructions on how to upload projects will be provided in January.
- Any events that are found to be plagiarized or previously submitted into competition will be disqualified. Those students will be dropped from the conference, and are not eligible for a refund of the conference registration fee.
- Chapter Advisors should review the work of the students and only submit written events that are a positive reflection on their chapter and their school.
- Only projects of students completing all three levels need to be submitted by the annual deadline. Students completing only in the bronze and/or silver levels only need to have their names and occupational areas submitted by the deadline to receive a certificate of participation, and will not compete at the State Conference.
- The DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form (page 57 of the National DECA Guide) certifying the originality of the work must be signed by the advisor and the student before the event is submitted. The DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form must be the first page of each entry. Only those students whose name appears on the DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form and have been included on the chapter’s registration form will be allowed to compete in the event.
- The first page is the completed and signed DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form. The second page is the title page. The third page is the completed Bronze Level MAP Progress Form, followed by the bronze level activities, and a bibliography for the bronze level. Next is the Silver Level MAP Progress Form and the silver level activities, and a bibliography for the silver level. Next is the Gold Level MAP Progress Form and the gold level activities, and a bibliography for the gold level. All activities must be in the order indicated on each of the MAP Progress Forms. A separate Table of Contents for each level should not be submitted.
Tabs must be used for the different levels, (Bronze, Silver & Gold) and are optional for the different areas. Sheet protectors may not be used.
- All 22 activities submitted must be typed in 12 point font. We recommend for the major content of the written entry to be double-spaced.
- Headings of each activity must consist of and be in the following order:
1. Award Level (Bronze, Silver, Gold)
2. Instructional Area (Economic Understanding, Human Relations, Marketing, Promotion, Product & Service Knowledge)
3. Activity Title
4. Member’s Name
5. Completion Date
- All activities must be documented by: (activity cover/title pages should not be used):
Bronze level – include a total of 10 activities, 2 pages average = minimum length of 20 pages.
Silver level – include a total of 7 activities, 3 pages average = minimum length of 21 pages.
Gold level – include a total of 5 activities, 4 pages average = minimum length of 20 pages.
- Examples of Original Work consist of the participant’s drawings, photos of the participant’s work or student generated computer illustrations. Photos of products, business maps, internet down loads, etc., may be included but are not calculated in the minimum page count.
- Pages must have at least 2/3 page of text to count as a page. If the participant is making a PowerPoint presentation, the pages must be printed as a handout with a minimum of 3 slides per page. Please note that 6 slides on a page does not count as two pages. Hands-on projects must have at least a one page narrative to support the photos of the hands on-work.
- All pages are numbered beginning with the first activity in the Bronze section.
- Projects with more than 30 penalty points will not be allowed to advance to the next level of competition. Those projects will be returned and the student will not be allowed to attend the State Conference as a Gold Merit Award Participant. The registration fee will be refunded at the 50% refund rate.
- Participants will give a 10 minute presentation at the State Career Development Conference, which should cover the five gold level projects. The presentation will be followed by a 5 minute question/answer period.
- Watch for updates as to the presentation guidelines for the virtual format of the State Conference.
The participant may use the following items during the oral presentation:
• Not more than three (3) standard-sized posters not to exceed 22.5 inches by 30.5 inches each. Participant may use both sides of the posters, but all attachments must fit within the poster dimensions.
• One (1) standard-sized presentation display board not to exceed 36.5 inches by 48.5 inches.
• One (1) desktop flip chart presentation easel 12 inches by 10 inches (dimensions of the page).
• One (1) personal laptop computer.
• Cell phones, smartphones, smartwatches, iPods/MP3 players, iPads/tablets or any type of a hand-held, information sharing device will be allowed in written events if applicable to the presentation.
• Sound is allowed, as long as the volume is kept at a conversational level. Video may be shown during your oral presentation, but are not to be included with the project when it is turned in for Written Event Screening or during competition. Only visual aids that can be easily carried to the presentation by the actual participant will be permitted, and the participant himself/herself must set up the visuals. No set-up time will be allowed. Participant must furnish his/her own materials and equipment. No electrical power or Internet connection will be supplied. Students will not be able to use the hotel or convention center internet for their written event presentations, because that would involve asking someone else to help them with their equipment. (Refer to the presentation guidelines.) They may use an internet aircard or personal hotspot with their computer if the students have one. But we caution that it could be difficult for students to receive and maintain a connection due to so many people using cell phones while at the conference. If they lose connection, they will not be given additional time. Our suggestion is to save anything that they might want to reference directly onto their computer. Material with no economic value and appropriate for the situation may be handed to or left with the judge.
- Participants may bring notes with them into the presentation.
- Special consideration during the evaluation will be given for special needs students that are unable to complete the above guidelines. Such a request needs to be communicated by the chapter advisor to the Michigan DECA State Director.
- Awards will be given to the outstanding projects and will be evaluated using the Outstanding Gold Project Evaluation form, which can be found on Michigan DECA’s website at www.mideca.org
- Projects receiving less than 75 points will not advance on to the International Conference.
Written Events and the Internet: Students will not be able to use the convention center internet for their written presentation, because that would involve asking someone else to help them with their equipment. (Refer to the presentation guidelines.) Students may use an internet aircard or personal hotspot with their computer if the student has one. But we caution that it could be difficult for students to receive and maintain a connection due to so many people using cell phones while at the conference. If they lose connection, they will not be given additional time. Our suggestion is to save anything that they might want to reference directly onto their computer.