School Administrators To Feed Kids "Brain Snack" Placebos Ahead of State Test

An apple flavored cereal bar with a label that reads, “Warning: Improves Writing Power!” will be passed out prior to testing.

By Natalie Musumeci
|  Friday, Nov 1, 2013  |  Updated 9:55 AM PDT
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School to Serve "Brain Snack" Placebos Ahead of Test

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A Florida elementary school will use "placebos" or apple-flavored cereal bars to boost students' test scores on a statewide exam.

A Florida elementary school is turning to the power of placebo to get its students to perform better on the annual Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Students at South Florida’s Hagen Road Elementary School will be given a “special brain snack,” an apple flavored cereal bar administrators are calling the “FCAT PowerBar.” The snack purports to guarantee better results on the exam.

The South Florida school wants kids to believe that digesting this special FCAT cereal bar will boost their scores on the statewide exam given to fourth, eighth, and 10th graders, according to the Sun Sentinel.

But not everyone views the idea of fooling kids as positive.

A teacher and lead union representative, Robert De Gennaro, told the Sun Sentinel that he expects loads of “dirty tricks” to be forced on teachers whose paychecks rely greatly on the outcome of student test scores.

“If you were given a choice between your salary and hoodwinking kids, which would you choose?” he asked.

These so-called brain-powering snack bars are meant to have the placebo effect on students in the same way that placebo pills or pills that have no proven impact, have healing effects on patients.

Broward County testing chief Paul Houchens said that his district is only trying to encourage a healthy breakfast because “it’s a lot easier to test on a full stomach,” he told the Sun Sentinel.

The writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test will be given this week, while the reading, math and science sections follow in April.

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