Can physical activity improve test taking performance?

There seems to be a buzz recently about physical activity and better "test taking" performance. One such example is an article in the Twin Cities Pioneer press which reported that: "Moving around improves kids' literacy scores."

The article about Farmington Middle School East, said staff members have implemented the "Literacy Education in the Active Domain" to help students who struggle with reading. The LEAD program models a district study last year that showed students' reading scores improved significantly after they completed physical activities.

"I think this is the new frontier for physical education and academics," said Jack Olwell, a North Trail Elementary PE teacher who conducted the study. "The two areas have not been connected like this before."

After testing in the fall to identify students reading below their grade level, Farmington East invited 40 sixth-graders to participate in the LEAD program, which incorporates about 20 minutes of physical activity with various lessons before a student's reading class.

Another test was given in January, and the average increase in reading scores for the 34 students who decided to take part was more than double the increase logged by their counterparts across the district.