Therapy dog digs up school testing gains

By: | April 8, 2019
Bentley, a goldendoodle, has helped students improve tests schools at South Ogden Junior High in Utah.Bentley, a goldendoodle, has helped students improve tests schools at South Ogden Junior High in Utah.

How does a dog help students score higher on tests?

No, the dogs are not carrying the answers in a little barrel around their necks, Saint Bernard style.

All it takes is simply having a dog—in this case, a goldendoodle named Bentley—in the room while the exam is underway, says Paul Woodin, a librarian at South Ogden Junior High in Utah.

“He goes in a math class, and the kids get to give him treats while they’re taking the test,” says Woodin, Bentley’s owner. Students who took tests with Bentley in the room improved scores by 13 percentage points over students who didn’t have the dog on hand. And students who got to read to the dog boosted proficiency by a full grade level in just half a year, Woodin adds.


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