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Seeing an 'A' Raises Test Scores

Certain Letters of the Alphabet Can Affect Achievement, Study Shows

Teachers: Beware Unintentional Influence

In a third experiment, 76 undergraduates were asked to complete an anagram test after being exposed to the letters A, F, or J.

Again, the As did better, scoring an average 6.02 out of 7, compared to only 3.65, on average, for the Fs.

“We believe the primary implication from this research is that students are vulnerable to evaluative letters presented before a task,” the researchers say in the news release. “Teachers should be careful not to use identification systems that map onto assessment systems.”

Showing students letters may inadvertently prime them to do better or worse than they might otherwise, the researchers say, but latching onto this effect “may be desired by savvy teachers.”

The two conclude that “adorning classrooms with symbols of achievement may activate effort, pride, and the intention to perform well in standardized testing situations.”

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