Clemson University joins forces to improve student test scores

By Pam Bryant

Standardized test scores have been the subject of significant debate in South Carolina, as recent reports show the state has the lowest average SAT score in the nation. Now, Clemson University has joined forces with an internationally recognized research institute to help students improve their test-taking abilities.

Clemson’s Youth Learning Institute has been licensed to distribute an interactive program called TestEdge.TM The engaging multimedia course teaches students proven techniques and strategies to overcome test and performance anxiety, and to boost focus, clarity and problem-solving ability. The program was developed by the Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California, after years of scientifically-validated, heart-brain communication research. Their work was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education with a grant to demonstrate the benefits of the TestEdge program.

“This partnership will strengthen our institute in the area of research and will cultivate the application of HeartMath skills into our youth and professional programs,” said Jorge Calzadilla, director of Clemson’s Youth Learning Institute.

The institute plans to introduce the program in 2005 through three-day, academic experiences for educators and their students, as well as through a new summer camp called The Edge. There are also plans to offer a professional development series for educators and corporate professionals, called ThinkShops. This training will incorporate HeartMath techniques for enhancing performance, improving health and well-being, and reducing stress.

“We are very pleased with our partnership with Clemson University,” said Robert Rees, director of Education and Humanities at the Institute of HeartMath. “While we have relationships with some 40 colleges and universities, this is clearly the most extensive partnership we have entered into with an institution of higher education. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

The Youth Learning Institute is a vital component of Clemson’s youth outreach effort, reaching more than 22,000 young people who participate in training and development programs at the university’s leadership centers throughout the state. These include summer camps, special interest sessions, leadership conferences, and academic programs. The institute also conducts professional development training for public and private organizations throughout the state.

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