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“Stress Bias” May Affect Scores

Testing may lead to “stress bias,” in which students who have spikes of the stress hormone cortisol get lower test scores, according to a study of 93 elementary- and middle-school students from three New Orleans charter schools. Researchers found that students living in areas with more crime and poverty are more affected by stress, and may be less able to “to reveal the things they likely know,” says Pamela Cantor, a psychiatrist and founder of an organization that works with children affected by trauma.

Exercise in Class May Improve Math and Spelling Scores

Adapted from Healthfinder.gov

Schoolchildren may have an easier time learning if exercise is part of their math and spelling lessons, a new study suggests.

Dutch researchers found that second- and third-graders given “physically active” lessons did better on math and spelling tests, compared with their peers who learned the old-fashioned way.

Experts not involved with the study called the findings “encouraging.” But they also said it’s too soon to push for physically active classrooms everywhere.

Weaving exercise into traditional lessons could offer the “amazing possibility” of helping kids learn, while also helping them stay healthy, said Sara Benjamin Neelon, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore.

“The take-home message is that physically active lessons may be a novel way to increase physical activity and improve academic performance at the same time,” said Benjamin Neelon, who cowrote an editorial published with the study.

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