I love learning about simple solutions to complex issues. Over and over, people approach issues in a costly and ineffective way while overlooking “old-fashioned”, do-it-yourself approaches that are surprisingly effective. I was intrigued to read this articleabout how chewing gum can actually improve kids’ test score performance. For all the knocks kids get for popping bubbles, sticking the gum under the desk or in a classmate’s hair, according to this study, there appears to be some tangible benefit to chewing in an academic setting. According to the article,
“Those who chewed gum had a 3% increase in standardized math test scores and had final math grades that were significantly better than the other students. Teachers observed that those who chewed gum seemed to require fewer breaks, sustain attention longer and remain quieter.”
While the 3% may not seem statistically significant, and the observation piece may very well be attributed to the “placebo effect”, the fact that Baylor’s College of Medicine endorsed the practice as showing significant improvement over a control group is pretty impressive. While no specific mechanim was cited, it is postulated that chewing induces increased bloodflow to the head, which in turn, translates into improved cognitive function.
A Much More Expensive Solution – That May Not be Worth it
Now, on the flip side of the coin, I read an article today at wsj.com showing that the hefty fees parents pay out for SAT Test Prep courses provide only a marginal benefit, if that. And many of the outfits boasting about their services and results cannot back it up and had to alter their advertising statements when challenged. One report put the average benefit at 30 points on a 1600 max point SAT exam (study conducted prior to increase to 2400 total points on the SAT). I don’t know about you; my parents didn’t have thousands of dollars to shell out for the test prep stuff and I did OK. I took the exam twice, got about the same score each time and got into the college I was after.
There are so many different majors that people can pursue online now that don’t require the traditional on-campus experience (and at a much reduced cost!). Some students tend to focus degrees that can help them make a difference in the world. For instance, if your child is interested in pursuing an online social work degree, check out this site www.accredited-online-college-
Perhaps the solution is to just replace $4000 course with chewing gum – it’s a lot cheaper and it actually seems to work!