C8 Sciences Conducts Case Study on Increased Executive Function Skills for Older Students at New York’s Maplebrook School- A Rise in Student Self Esteem a Happy Bonus
In proving that hard work, engaged students and resiliency get results, C8 Sciences conducted a case study on increased executive function skills for older students at the Maplebrook School of Hudson Valley, New York. Implemented during the 2014 to 2015 school year, the study analyzed the performance of all students in the Postsecondary Programs, aged 18 through 21, who used C8 Science’s ACTIVATE™ for at least 15 minutes daily, with additional time spent during study hall and at night in their dorm rooms.
What was it that drew Maplebrook representatives to the ACTIVATE™ program for their students that battle learning differences and/or learning disorders? After looking at other programs used by similar institutions, school executives such as Jennifer Scully, Assistant Head of School for Postsecondary Studies and Dean of Admissions, found that their programs didn’t offer the flexibility and engaging game-like environment afforded by ACTIVATE™.
“Across our student population, we didn’t see any executive function skills wherein students DIDN’T make gains,” Scully commented, referring to the way in which Maplebrook is seeing ACTIVATE™ get results. Further, after administering the Comprehensive Executive Functioning Inventory (CEFI) test to all students, the school reported impressive results after using ACTIVATE™.
Through a unique program implemented at Maplebrook entitled Responsibility Increases Self Esteem (or RISE), each student makes gains by exhibiting responsible behaviors and characteristics. With the help of powerful reinforcement, student self esteem grows and they, in turn, become more independent. In working with C8 Sciences and its ACTIVATE™ protocol, Maplebrook’s student faculty/staff mentors are now able to check progress on the program and set new goals for greater achievement – in fact, mentors are able to work one-on-one as advisors to help students set achievable goals, notably with executive functioning.
To say that Maplebrook students enjoyed “big growth” by using ACTIVATE™ is something of an understatement; indeed, 100-percent of students aged 18 through 21 showed growth in:
• Emotional Regulation
• Working Memory
…while 92-percent of students aged 18 through 21 showed growth in three or more areas, with the highest percentage of growth made in the area of emotional regulation.
At the end of the day, the ultimate goal for Maplebrook School representatives involved in this endeavor with C8 Sciences and its ACTIVATE™ program is to help create responsible and mature young adults who go on to become productive members of society…something that, in today’s world, is sorely needed. According to the results of C8 Science’s case study, the Maplebrook students’ accomplishments with ACTIVATE™ indeed carried over into their daily lives, where significant progress was made in organizational skills and – more importantly – in their aforementioned emotional regulation.
As the school year during the study progressed, students began exhibiting improved problem-solving abilities and engaging in more thoughtful responses to situations rather than reacting impulsively. They even improved their planning abilities as it corresponded to time management, with improvements in this area consisting of a better grasp on emotional regulation (remaining calm when facing small problems, reacting to situations with an appropriate level of emotion, et al) and self-monitoring (e.g. applying prior knowledge, following directions). Interestingly, improvements were also seen in the areas of working memory (following directions, retention of read information, etc.) and initiation (willingness to complete a task without prompting, avoiding procrastination on school assignments, et al).
Looking to the Future
In looking ahead, the Maplebrook School plans to expand their use of ACTIVATE™ by fully integrating the program into their time management plans, which includes:
• Expanding their use of ACTIVATE™ by making it mandatory for students to use over their three extended vacation breaks.
• Implementing the physical education portion of ACTIVATE™ to expand the full benefits of the program.
• Continuing to set specific goals for students using ACTIVATE™ and for the physical activity integrated within Maplebrook’s sports programs.
• Extending the use of ACTIVATE™ to all students aged 13 to 18.
The school also looks forward to continued success with ACTIVATE™ resulting in improved executive function growth – all made possible through the hard work and resiliency of its students. As it stands, ACTIVATE™ is the exclusive executive functioning tool used by Maplebrook, with both students and faculty having nothing but glowing things to say about the endeavor:
Lindsey, a Maplebrook School student, said about her ACTIVATE™ experience,
“I feel as if I have developed more patience. I am more comfortable about reacting to an emergency, I am much better at time management and I find following directions easier. I had a lot of trouble with these areas before coming here and ACTIVATE™ really helps me.”
Jennifer Scully also added,
“Our students are really engaged in ACTIVATE™. They start and don’t want to stop since they keep playing to beat the game. Perhaps what’s best of all, ACTIVATE™ affords Maplebrook the opportunity to reinforce our students’ executive function skills in many ways through flexible use of the program.”
A perfect example of how the students feel about their progress comes from Haley, another Maplebrook student:
“I love using ACTIVATE™. Not only is it fun, but I feel like I am becoming a better person.”
C8 Sciences has developed an Inclusion Classroom session for ACTIVATE™ that shows educators the most useful ways to employ the program in an “inclusion” setting. This encompasses knowing how to best take advantage of the program’s cognitive training and the “energizer activities” in the physical exercise program. Additionally, educators – such as those with the Maplebrook School – will be able to identify how students learn through cognitive functions and how to keep the class motivated, while instruction on additional support complements identifying and implementing teaching strategies for students with disabilities. Now, educators will be able to recognize where to find – and how to help – those students who need it most.