Impact of a Neuro-Cognitive Intervention on Students’ Cognitive Functions: Assessments in a Government School Setting in South India


  •  Madhavi Bongarala    
  •  Shashi Kumar    
  •  Ronald Ross    
  •  R. Manjunatha    
  •  N. S. Nagaraja    
  •  Krishnamurthy Jayanna    

Abstract

Evidence indicates that cognitive deficits can affect students’ performance in schools. An effort to enhance cognitive skills through integration of a neuro-cognitive training called ‘Brighter Minds’, was made in the government schools of South India during 2017-18. 110 students went through a pre and post training evaluation, using a mixed methods study design to assess changes in attention, observation and memory. Tools such as Make a Trail and Stroop test to assess attention, Word Recall and Visual stimulus tests for memory and acustomized tool to assess changes in observation were used. Focus group discussions were conducted to understand teachers’ experience and acceptance of the training. Paired t-tests demonstrated statistically significant gains in all the three cognitive traits. The average time taken to complete the trail tests significantly reduced after the training (Trail A: 59.3 s to 47.5 s; Trail B: 156 s to 120 s. p < 0.001). The average number of correct items read out in the Stroop test improved significantly. More students were able to observe deeper aspects of the test object (23 Vs 40, p < 0.001). On intuition tests, average score of correct observations went up significantly from 6.7 to 9.6 objects. Memory assessments revealed significant improvements in verbal recall (both immediate and delayed) and visual recognition, but marginal improvements in visual retention. The teachers reported changes in student’s motivation, discipline and participation. The training was seamlessly rolled out by the teachers during regular hours and led to improvements in students' cognitive abilities. The cognitive trainings offer promise to complement current efforts in enhance learning outcomes among students.


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