Help your students score higher on your upcoming big tests brain based learning brain based teaching articles from jensen learning average education level

Let’s focus on something I ordinarily NEVER focus on: testing. As much as I dislike the types, timing, policies, content and uses of existing state and national tests (i s there anything I left out?), the reality is, we’d rather our students get higher than lower scores.

By the way, kids never score above their potential; they’re just not going to randomly make enough lucky right answers time after time after time. (In statistics, it’s called regression to the mean.) But, they often underperform for a host of reasons, even when they should perform much better.

There are three chemicals to focus on for optimal testing results: 1) dopamine (It generally facilitates informational transfer within limbic and cortical networks to promote working memory and reward-seeking behavior, says Luciana, et al. 1998), 2) noradrenaline (It generally promotes a more narrowed focus, sharper attention and improved memory.

This system plays a specific role in the regulation of cognitive functions, including sustained attention, working memory, impulse control, and the planning of voluntary behavior.), and 3) glucose (It provides short term energy and, in low to moderate doses, promotes enhanced memory. (Krebs DL, Parent MB., 2005.)

Can you influence testing outcomes by “prepping” their brain for success? It has long been proposed that motivational responses that were subtle could serve as priming to affect academic performance. degree education level A recent study showed that yes, priming can help students do better. You can prep the brain several ways. One is by showing and asking the students to write them the letter “A” in advance in a certain way. We’ll tell you “how” in a moment. The other one of our two “prepping” strategies is to give peppermints to all kids for your final review, then use peppermints again at the time of the big test (Barker, et al. 2003.) This raises attentional levels and provides glucose for learning and memory.

We feel stressed when we are in a novel location. Not surprisingly, stress impaired memory when kids were assessed in an unfamiliar surrounding, but not when assessed in the original learning location. (Schwabe L., and Wolf OT., 2009.) In short, if your students can’t be in the test-givers room to learn the material, at least bring them into the testing room and do a review in that room days before the event.

In the paragraphs above, we’ve offered three “angles” for improving the testing outcome. First, the science is solid when you consider each strategy separately. But combined, these strategies may help you get to the next level. The chef, Emeril, would say they could give you “BAM!”… Power.

Dopamine can be strengthened by: 1) voluntary gross motor repetitive movements, like marching, relays, playing a game, 2) enhanced by strong positive feelings like reunions and celebrations, and 3) enhanced by looking forward to something very good.

Glucose is enhanced by: 1) food sources, complex carbos are best, but almost any source can do in a pinch, 2) physical activity (glucose is stored in the liver, in the form of glycogen, and released in the form of glucose), and 3) any time we are experiencing emotions.

Here’s how to use the power of suggestion. You can influence testing outcomes by “prepping” their brain for success with a positive suggestion. Sound like Star Trek “Vulcan” Mind Control? Or, is it more of the “Obi Wan Kenobe” effect? It’s neither. college level education It has long been proposed that motivational responses that were subtle could serve as priming to effect academic performance.

The “mind games” manipulation came in the form of a phony answer key identification code. This study used a “Test – Bank ID code” (completely phony) on the front cover of a test. The ID Code was needed because participants were prompted to view and write it on each page of their test. The letters used were “A” (the positive priming for group 1) “F” (the negative priming for group 2) and “J” (the neutral, control group 3). Students who got and used the “A” on their ID Code outperformed BOTH the “F” on the code and the “J” control group. Students are vulnerable to evaluative letters presented before a task, these results support years of research highlighting the significant role that our nonconscious processes play in achievement settings.

The next study I mentioned with priming and positive suggestion used peppermint odor during simple skill practice, performance, memorization, and alphabetization. Participants completed the protocol twice–once with peppermint odor present and once without. Analysis indicated significant differences in the gross speed, net speed, and accuracy on the task, with odor associated with improved performance. The study results suggest peppermint odor may promote a general arousal of attention, so participants stay focused on their task and increase performance.

As we said earlier, changes in rooms can induce stress. Undue stress before “the big” test impairs memory, whereas memory performance is enhanced when the learning context (location) is reinstated at retrieval (testing) time. As a general rule, low to moderate stress is best for encoding and retrieving. It is best to match the encoding (original learning) and retrieval (test situation) stress level.

I have always advocated that we ensure that students taking a test take it in the room in which they studied for it. level of education and income That’s the power of episodic or context memory. But there’s more to it. Stress is an issue, too. The study examined whether the negative impact of stress before memory retrieval can be attenuated when memory is tested in the same environmental context as that in which the learning took place. These results suggest that the detrimental effects of stress on memory retrieval can be abolished when a distinct learning context is reinstated at test time.

Stress impaired the student’s memory when assessed in the unfamiliar context, but not when assessed in the learning context (Schwabe L., and Wolf OT., 2009.) In short, if your students can’t be in the official test-taking room for the big test to learn the material, at least bring them into the testing room prior and do a review in that room a few days before the event.

And now, a BONUS! Here’s what to do after the interim tests (but before the big “Standards Tests”). We know that reflection and meta thinking can be powerful. Debbie Barber, a sixth grade teacher at Ackerman Middle School in Canby, Oregon says, “My kids have a chance to improve their scores by doing a test autopsy. They correct their mistakes and then write a half page reflection on why they did so poorly and what they should have done differently. They earn a half point for each corrected answer. Not only do the parents love it, the test scores have improved and the students are really taking ownership of their work!”