How effective is Dr Kawashima at increasing maths attainment?

A Study by Learning and Teaching Scotland has compared before and after maths test scores for 3 groups of children, one of which was using Nintendo’s Dr Kawashima Brain Trainer (see report details). The study has shown that users of the Nintendo software had a significant increase in their test scores before and after the test.

The other two groups in the study were a control group who had no access to  any brain training software and a group who used the Brain Gym methods to increase ability. Three variables were assessed both before and after tests, the student’s perception of themselves as learners, their scores in a maths test and the time it took them to complete a maths test.

What is interesting is that for the control group and Brain Gym group the student’s perception of themselves as learners significantly decreased over the 10 week period, but the perception of those using the Nintendo software increased.

All the student’s average scores increased over this period but only the Nintendo group showed a significant increase in score. Surprisingly all of the groups showed a decrease in the average time taken to complete the test but the Nintendo students showed a significant decrease in time taken.

So what conclusions can we draw from this? Before drawing any conclusions worth acting on the study should be repeated on a larger scale. It would also be worthwhile to keep teachers constant across groups to eliminate any effect they are having on the groups they are tutoring, and rather than just comparing with Brain Gym it would also be useful to see the effects of other software (for example Sums Online).