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Intervention Summary

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TestEdge Program

The TestEdge Program is designed to help elementary and high school students self-regulate their emotional and physiological responses to challenging and stressful situations, including school tests. The 12-week program, based on research on test anxiety, emotional anxiety, and social and emotional learning, is composed of 12-15 lessons, depending on the participants' grade level, which last about 20 minutes each and are taught twice weekly by a classroom teacher (although different schedules can be followed). The lessons provide students with a better understanding of stress, emotions, and the brain, including its function and how it interacts with the heart. Students learn how to strengthen their expression of positive emotions, neutralize negative attitudes, solve problems, use computer technologies in preparing for and taking tests, and apply coherence-building techniques (i.e., methods of self-regulating stress and anxiety through the use of positive emotion in shifting attention from the brain to the physical area of the heart) while taking tests.

In the study reviewed by NREPP, the TestEdge Program was used with 10th-grade students from two high schools.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: April 2012
1: Test anxiety
2: Negative affect
3: Emotional discord
4: Social interaction
5: Classroom engagement
Outcome Categories Education
Mental health
Social functioning
Ages 13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Geographic Locations Suburban
Implementation History Since its formal release in the fall of 2007, the TestEdge Program has been implemented with an estimated 10,000 students in more than 200 schools in 44 States. The program also has been implemented in classrooms in Great Britain, Mexico, and the Netherlands.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations Program materials are available in Spanish.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal

Quality of Research
Review Date: April 2012

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Bradley, R. T., McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., Arguelles, L., Rees, R. A., & Tomasino, D. (2007). Reducing test anxiety and improving test performance in America's schools: Results from the TestEdge national demonstration study (Publication No. 07-04-01). Boulder Creek, CA: HeartMath Research Center, Institute of HeartMath.

Supplementary Materials

Spielberger, C. D., Gonzalez, H. P., Taylor, C. J., Anton, E. D., Algaze, B., Ross, G. R., et al. (1980). Test anxiety inventory sampler set: Manual, test, scoring. Redwood City, CA: Mind Garden.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Test anxiety
Description of Measures Test anxiety was assessed using the Test Opinion Survey, a subsection of the 80-item Student Opinion Survey. The Test Opinion Survey includes 8 items, taken from the Spielberger Test Anxiety Inventory, that assess three constructs of test anxiety: global, worry (psychological aspects of test anxiety), and emotionality (physical symptoms of test anxiety). Using a 4-point Likert scale ranging from "almost never" to "almost always," students responded to each item (e.g., "During tests I feel very tense," "I feel very panicky when I take an important test," "I freeze up on important exams"). Assessments were conducted at baseline, at 2 months after baseline (i.e., 2 weeks before the California High School Exit Examination), at 3 months after baseline (i.e., 1 week before the California Standards Test), and at posttest.
Key Findings In one high school, 10th-grade students received the 12-week TestEdge Program, and in another high school, 10th-grade students served as the control group, receiving regular instruction. From baseline to 3 months after baseline, students who received the TestEdge Program had a lower level of test anxiety than students in the control group, as indicated by the global (p < .001), worry (p < .001), and emotionality (p < .001) constructs.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Negative affect
Description of Measures Negative affect was assessed using 6 items from the 80-item Student Opinion Survey: "I feel stressed," "I feel lonely," "I feel sad," "I feel angry," "I feel depressed," and "I feel disappointed." Using a 4-point Likert scale ranging from "almost never" to "almost always," students responded to each item. Assessments were conducted at baseline and at posttest.
Key Findings In one high school, 10th-grade students received the 12-week TestEdge Program, and in another high school, 10th-grade students served as the control group, receiving regular instruction. From baseline to posttest, students who received the TestEdge Program had a lower negative affect than students in the control group (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Emotional discord
Description of Measures Emotional discord was assessed using 5 items from the 80-item Student Opinion Survey: "I feel powerless over what I am feeling," "I don't always know clearly how I feel," "I have opposite feelings from one moment to the next," "I keep negative feelings bottled up inside," and "I feel overwhelmed by my feelings." Using a 4-point Likert scale ranging from "almost never" to "almost always," students responded to each item. Assessments were conducted at baseline and at posttest.
Key Findings In one high school, 10th-grade students received the 12-week TestEdge Program, and in another high school, 10th-grade students served as the control group, receiving regular instruction. From baseline to posttest, students who received the TestEdge Program had less emotional discord than students in the control group (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Social interaction
Description of Measures Social interaction was assessed using 5 items from the 80-item Student Opinion Survey: "I find it difficult to know what others are feeling," "I have difficulty sharing my feelings with others," "I don't feel that I am being heard and understood," "I feel that I don't matter," and "I get into arguments or fights." Using a 4-point Likert scale ranging from "almost never" to "almost always," students responded to each item. Assessments were conducted at baseline and at posttest.
Key Findings In one high school, 10th-grade students received the 12-week TestEdge Program, and in another high school, 10th-grade students served as the control group, receiving regular instruction. From baseline to posttest, students who received the TestEdge Program had better social interaction than students in the control group (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 5: Classroom engagement
Description of Measures Classroom engagement was assessed using 4 items from the 80-item Student Opinion Survey: "I enjoy this class and find it fun," "I am pleased with how much I am learning," "I feel that there are mostly good feelings among all of us in this class," and "I feel the teacher cares about me and my classmates as individuals." Using a 4-point Likert scale ranging from "almost never" to "almost always," students responded to each item. Assessments were conducted at baseline and at posttest.
Key Findings In one high school, 10th-grade students received the 12-week TestEdge Program, and in another high school, 10th-grade students served as the control group, receiving regular instruction. From baseline to posttest, students who received the TestEdge Program had a higher level of classroom engagement than students in the control group (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 13-17 (Adolescent) 53% Female
47% Male
43% White
36% Hispanic or Latino
9% Asian
8% Race/ethnicity unspecified
1% American Indian or Alaska Native
1% Black or African American
1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Test anxiety 3.5 3.0 2.8 2.8 2.3 3.5 3.0
2: Negative affect 3.0 3.0 2.8 2.8 2.3 3.5 2.9
3: Emotional discord 3.0 3.0 2.8 2.8 2.3 3.5 2.9
4: Social interaction 3.0 3.0 2.8 2.8 2.3 3.5 2.9
5: Classroom engagement 3.0 3.0 2.8 2.8 2.3 3.5 2.9

Study Strengths

The Spielberger Test Anxiety Inventory, from which the Test Opinion Survey section of the Student Opinion Survey was derived, is a widely used and psychometrically sound measure, supported by reliability and validity data from an independent investigator. The Student Opinion Survey, which was developed by the researchers, has good internal consistency and construct validity. Considerable efforts were made to ensure that intervention fidelity was maintained at an acceptable level. Missing data were taken into account with multivariate statistical analysis. Confounding variables were well described, thoroughly discussed, and controlled for by the researchers. The statistical methods were appropriate and included tests that adjusted for baseline differences

Study Weaknesses

No reliability data from independent investigators were provided for the Student Opinion Survey, and criterion validity was not established. The Test Opinion Survey was composed of a subset of eight items from the Test Anxiety Inventory, which may have affected the validity of the Test Opinion Survey. The study had considerable missing data.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: April 2012

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Institute of HeartMath. (2004). TestEdge student activity book. Boulder Creek, CA: Author.

Institute of HeartMath. (2005). Qualified instructor program--Resilient Educator. Boulder Creek, CA: Author.

Institute of HeartMath. (2005). TestEdge teacher's manual. Boulder Creek, CA: Author.

Program Web site, http://store.heartmath.org/TestEdge-9-12/testedge-teacher-kit-9-12

TestEdge Instructional Aides: Lesson 6 & 8 [CD]

TestEdge Learning Checklist

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
4.0 2.8 2.3 3.0

Dissemination Strengths

The teacher's manual and student activity book are comprehensive and of high quality. The materials provide a detailed description of the program and weekly lesson plans. The program materials support three implementation schedules, depending on the length and frequency of meetings between the teacher and students, and provide guidance on preparing for lesson delivery for each schedule. Additional online resources are available to support teachers and students with ongoing learning. Supplementary skill-building training is available to enhance teachers' abilities. Consultation and coaching are available from the developer. A student checklist to assess knowledge of lessons and skill proficiency is provided to support quality assurance.

Dissemination Weaknesses

The content, structure, and extent of available coaching and consultation services are not described. No tools are provided for assessing teacher competency, skill proficiency, or intervention delivery to ensure fidelity to the model. A protocol is not available to assess implementation fidelity and to ensure that ongoing programming remains consistent with program requirements.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
TestEdge Grades 3-5 Teacher's Kit (includes teacher's manual, laminated photo lesson cards with scripted lesson plans, student workbook, and posters) $129.95 each Yes, for implementation with these grade levels
TestEdge Grades 3-5 Student Workbook
  • $2.95 each for orders of 19 or fewer
  • $2.36 each for orders of 20-49 (20% discount)
  • $1.77 each for orders of 50 or more (40% discount)
Yes, for implementation with these grade levels
TestEdge Grades 6-8 Teacher's Kit (includes teacher's manual, fully scripted lesson plans, student activity book, posters, video, overheads, and music CD) $129.95 each Yes, for implementation with these grade levels
TestEdge Grades 6-8 Student Activity Book
  • $4.95 each for orders of 19 or fewer
  • $3.96 each for orders of 20-49 (20% discount)
  • $2.97 each for orders of 50 or more (40% discount)
Yes, for implementation with these grade levels
TestEdge Interactive CD Learning Program 6-8 $49.95 each No
TestEdge Grades 9-12 Teacher's Kit (includes teacher's manual, student activity book, posters, and video) $129.95 each Yes, for implementation with these grade levels
TestEdge Grades 9-12 Student Activity Book
  • $4.95 each for orders of 19 or fewer
  • $3.96 each for orders of 20-49 (20% discount)
  • $2.97 each for orders of 50 or more (40% discount)
Yes, for implementation with these grade levels
TestEdge Interactive CD Learning Program 9-12+ $49.95 each No
3.5-day, off-site Resilient Educator training in northern California (includes lodging, food, materials, and phone-based coaching before implementation) $2,495 for up to 25 participants No
1-day, on-site implementation training $1,500 per school, plus travel expenses No
Phone-, email-, or Webinar-based coaching and consultation Free No
Replications

No replications were identified by the developer.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Jeff Goelitz
(831) 338-8713
jgoelitz@heartmath.org

To learn more about research, contact:
Mike Atkinson
(831) 338-8735
mike@heartmath.org

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

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