Seventeen 9th-grade students at a charter school were selected to participate in a 3-week stress management/peak performance training program that integrated biofeedback into the overall educational schedule. The training program included a weekly visit by the facilitator, who discussed with the students the psychophysiology of stress and neuropsychology of attention, as well as the beneficial aspects of relaxation on the mind and body. These factors have been studied with peripheral biofeedback and EEG biofeedback for over 30 years and are known to facilitate peak performance during tests, social interaction, and various other performance scenarios, such as general academic performance, sports, and music. Students were guided through relaxation exercises and were then asked to think about how and why these exercises fit in to their own personal goals as students and performers. They were instructed to practice at home with an audio CD and worked with the emWave PC®, a heart rate variability biofeedback instrument. The Test Anxiety Quiz was administered pre- and posttraining, and the Behavioral Change Survey was administered posttraining. The students showed mild to moderate improvement on test anxiety and behavioral measures. Overall, significant gains were made in reduction of test anxiety and other behavioral measures. This study suggests that, consistent with the peak performance literature, integration of relaxation techniques into a secondary school setting can improve important measures of students' scholastic achievement.

You do not currently have access to this content.