Posts Tagged ‘test prep review’

Brain Fitness Training And Learning: Neuroplasticity

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

After my “test prep review” post a couple of days ago I came across a piece in The Journal arguing the case for the use of brain training software to build critical brain structures in struggling learners. The story’s author, Dr. Martha Burns, emphasizes how much we now know about neuroplasticity, learning, and the impact of brain fitness software on cognitive function.

“Neuroscientists like Stanislas Dehaene, for example, provide evidence that specific brain structures in the temporal lobe are required so that learning to read happens easily and effortlessly,” Dr. Burns points out. “Research is helping us understand the reasons why that brain architecture may not be strong enough to support the learning process–for example, a home environment where there is not a great deal of oral language experience may have negative impact on brain architecture.”

But we can rewire the brain with specific brain training interventions. Neuroplasticity, even adult neuroplasticity, is now a well accepted process by which the brain changes in response to new stimulii.

Dr. Burns cites the work of John Gabrieli with dyslexic children. Reviewing new neuroscience approaches to dyslexia in the journal Science in 2009, John Gabrieli of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology noted that after six weeks of targeted brain training, the dyslexic children showed dramatic improvements on standardized reading assessments and increased brain function in previously weak regions of the left hemisphere. The brain function in the weak areas had reached levels associated with non-dyslexic children.

Further, Dehaene’s research report published in the December 2010 issue of Science shows that learning to read changes the brains of children as well as adults. Learning to read stimulates organization of the visual cortex and the brain functions associated with speech. Similarly brain training for children can also lead to improvements in math, social studies, and science.

Dr. Burns closes: “Neuroscience is helping educators understand how the brain learns, what causes learning disabilities, and what we can do about them. Moreover, neuroscience is developing technology-based interventions that can ameliorate the root cause of reading failure and, by enabling nonreaders to read, build brain capacity for other types of learning.” Well said.

Test Prep And School Performance

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Thinking about Test Prep Review: A recent WNYC news piece “What Tougher State Exams Mean for Test Prep in Brownsville” caught my attention. Most thought-provoking was the comment of Dr. Stephen Appea, principal at the Brownsville school featured in the article:

“In many places educators were not doing the jobs and not doing right by the kids and so that’s why No Child Left Behind – the motivation, the intent of it  – may have been good,” he said. “But what happened was what we see now, which is a nation of test prep schools.”

Schools shouldn’t need to focus on test prep. The growing lament of teachers, it seems, is that they should be left to teach.

So what is the answer? Well, perhaps part of the answer would be to refocus on the reasons that some children are scoring poorly, indicating that they’re not learning well.  Schools with few options for increasing resources for their struggling students have begun to find that affordable brain training software can be a way to boost academic performance and raise test scores. I for one would like to think that our efforts could be part of the answer.

Brain Training – Report of MCAT Success

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Anson from Colorado contacted us to tell us of his experience with the MCATs and training with Brain Fitness Pro. He mentions a jump in score from 27 to 34. This is equivalent to a percentile increase for the MCATs from around the 60th percentile to around the 92nd percentile:

“I just wanted to let you know that for the past year I had been studying to retake my MCAT’s in January. My dad had mentioned your product and so I decided I would give it a shot. I used it for 6 months, while I studied the exam material. I got my results back in March and my score jumped from a 27 to a 34. I was pretty astounded by the results since the average score either increases or decreases at most by 3 points when the score is close to a 30. I have no idea what happened, but I definitely have to attribute some of the success to your program. I would have emailed you earlier, but I have been busy as of late. I just wanted to let you know that I felt like your program works and that hopefully it can help others succeed.”