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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Gum chewing affects academic performance in adolescents

item Johnston, Craig
item Tyler, Chermaine
item Stansberry, Sandra
item Palcic, Jennette
item Foreyt, John

Submitted to: Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2009
Publication Date: 4/1/2009
Citation: Johnston, C., Tyler, C., Stansberry, S., Palcic, J., Foreyt, J. 2009. Gum chewing affects academic performance in adolescents [abstract]. Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 23:LB487.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Chewing gum may have an impact on improved memory during specific tasks of recognition and sustained attention. Research objective was to determine the effect of gum chewing on standardized test scores and math class grades of eighth grade students. Four math classes, 108 students, were randomized into two treatments - gum chewing condition (GC) that provided sugar-free gum to chew during class, during homework and during test taking situations or a control condition with no gum (NGC). Math sections of Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement and math class grades were used to assess academic performance. An increase in TAKS math test scores was found for all students, but students in GC had a significantly greater increase in TAKS math test scores compared to NGC (F (1, 103) = 4.25, p < .05). Although math class grades for both GC and NGC conditions declined over time, math grades for students in GC declined less in comparison to NGC (F (1, 103) = 4.35, p < .05). These results show chewing gum may be a cost-effective and easily implemented method to increase student performance. Today's high-stakes testing environment underscores the need for novel approaches to facilitate improved academic performance as standardized test scores have become a mandatory requirement for assessing academic achievement.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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