The researchers at the Center for BrainHealth have implemented their program in schools, with more than 20,000 students in five different states participating– including Florida, Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas and Kentucky.

Additional Information:

Even though the economy is slowly improving, recent college graduates are still unemployed. A recent survey of the 500 elite business decision makers showed that close to half (49 percent) believe today’s graduates are less prepared for work than they were 15 years ago.  The majority (70 percent) of executives say that fewer than half of graduates entering their companies have the skills to succeed in entry-level jobs. Many top executives also believe that less than a quarter (21 percent) of graduates applying to their company has the skills to advance past those entry level jobs. Even though the current graduates have mastered social media, a smart phone and the ability to have thousands of Twitter followers are not as important as you might think.  The survey shows that business leaders feel the three most important skills to have when entering the business sector are problem-solving (49 percent), collaboration (43 percent), and critical thinking (36 percent). At the very bottom of the list was technological/social; media skills (5 percent).  Almost half of the survey participants believe educational facilities are doing a fair or poor job of preparing students for the business sector. (Source: http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/lexis-hub/b/career-news-and-trends/archive/2012/02/01/survey-says-college-graduates-not-prepared-for-the-workforce.aspx)

SMART:  Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas believe that the middle school years would be the optimal time for training in complex reasoning skills, critical thinking skills, and risk resilience.  Using teenagers suffering from attention deficit problems, researchers at BrainHealth used cognitive science to create the SMART program (Strategic Memory and Reasoning Training) to teach teens how to think critically and effectively use the information they learn. Teenagers were taught techniques to block unimportant details and condense critical information into main ideas or concepts, rather than try to memorize and repeat facts verbatim.  (Source: http://watershedschool.org/resources/articles/ut-dallas-researchers-hope-to-train-teens-in-reasoning-skills/)

TESTING SMART:  For the study, researchers tested the SMART program techniques in a classroom.  They set up two groups of teens with ADHD.  At the start of the camp, the students received tips on how to use their brains more efficiently.  Campers were then asked to employ the techniques through a variety of activities throughout the two weeks.  Every participant showed overall improvement in strategic thinking.  “This is a problem across the nation,” Dr. Chapman was quoted as saying. “We’re missing the critical brain years and building a brain that doesn’t reason. The TAKS test is not the problem; we need to get the basic skills up, but we also need to find a way to get beyond fact-based learning.” (Source: http://watershedschool.org/resources/articles/ut-dallas-researchers-hope-to-train-teens-in-reasoning-skills/)