Whiffers. Smell Your Way to Higher Test Scores.

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A few weeks ago, I received an email asking me (I think, because I can’t really remember at my advanced age) to blog about a product.3 Pack fro $4.95.  A Steal If They Work.

As I normally do, I read the email.

Then I immediately went to my go to move which is hit delete and get on with my sad and pathetic life.


I don’t know why, it’s just the way my life is.

Oh, you are probably thinking why do I delete all of my emails.  My bad.

Because most of the emails I get don’t have anything to peak my interest.  Like a free t-shirt.  Or a trip.  Or the time honored attention grabber… cash.

But something about this particular one caught my attention.

It talked about improving test scores.

And while I don’t know much, I do know we’re all obsessed with test scores (whether we like it or not… and most of us probably don’t).

The product in the email was Whiffers.

They are scented wrist bands students can wear while testing.

Evidently the bands make kids really smart.

And who amongst us doesn’t need more really smart kids?

Now in effort of full disclosure (and on the advice of the PrincipalsPage.com lawyers), I want to say I’m not a stockholder in the company, or on the payroll, or even at this point a believer.

What I am is curious.

Can we really effect the test scores of our students with a wrist band that smells like spearmint?  Or peppermint?  Or even lavender?

It sounds crazy.

But what if it’s just crazy enough to work?  Maybe it’s like a blog about nothing.

What if the “Whiffer Suits” are on to something?

Even if the bands help a little, it might be enough to improve test scores to a level where a school district is successful instead of failing.

Now you might be asking is this an official PrincipalsPage.com Blog endorsement?

No it’s not.

As I mentioned earlier there has been no official exchange of a free t-shirt.

And without that, there is no chance of an endorsement.

What has happened is they’ve made me think.  Mainly about the steps adults in education will take to improve test scores.

If these bands work, Whiffers will sell them by the millions.

Even if they don’t work, I think they will still sell.

Say what you want, but America is a great country.

And it’s based on business and entrepreneurs.

Somewhere along the way, someone figured out we needed to test our students.

And then someone else figured out there was big money to be made on testing our students.

Now, educational testing at the K-12 level is a huge billion dollar business (I’ve just made up a number… it’s probably more).

Whiffers is on the right track, one way or another.

Now if I could only figure out how I could get a small cut of this action.

Or at least a free t-shirt (yes, once again it’s all about me).

If you have a special secret to improve test scores, please send it my way.  But keep in mind, I’m going to steal the idea and give you absolutely NO credit.

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8 Responses to “Whiffers. Smell Your Way to Higher Test Scores.”

  1. Jenny
    on May 8th, 2011
    @ 12:31 pm

    I have heard that studies show mints can help students perform better on tests, so maybe just the smell alone is enough to do the job.

    I also think that if I told students that wearing a hat makes them do better on a test, and then they wore a hat, they would do better on the test. I have to wonder if these bands are on to something or if it’s just a matter of the placebo effect.

  2. Olwyn Hughes
    on May 8th, 2011
    @ 2:51 pm

    Personally, I think that the way to improve students’ test scores is to stop testing them so darn much!!!! If students were given the ability to demonstrate their learning in meaningful ways rather than always with paper and pencil tests we would all be better off. All a test shows is what the student knew at that precise moment – it is a snapshot of what they knew – NOT an indication of how they will apply their learning, if they are problem solvers etc. Of course, remember I am speaking from the Canadian perspective where we do not test our kids to death!

  3. Carla
    on May 8th, 2011
    @ 8:35 pm

    I just wish we would trust what we know. Know your students, what they can do and what their deficits are, and then address them accordingly. The ultimate answer is teach with purpose and thoughtfulness to meet the needs of your students.

  4. Jason Fountain
    on May 8th, 2011
    @ 8:40 pm

    These are kind of like the balance bracelets. Some people swear by those. I guess if something convinces you that it will work, go for it!

    You are right about one thing…someone will probably make a bundle off of these things.

    I’ve always said I wish I would have thought up Barney…

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Jason Fountain, The Evil Spawn loved Barney… for about ten minutes.

    Now she refuses to acknowledge that phase ever took place.

  5. Aaron
    on May 9th, 2011
    @ 7:05 pm

    I heard that preparation actually improves test scores as well! It is a little tougher to market, but is incredibly effective. As for Canadians not excessively testing kids, I am not sure about that one, but I live on the west coast in BC (Beside Canada) so I am probably just out of the loop.
    Maybe it is my sceptisicm, also a result of my lack of free t-shirt, but just the fact that someone wears this product means they care about test scores and that might be a step toward improvement.
    All I know is that my Livestrong bracelet has not helped my progress toward winning the tour de France one little bit. Maybe if I dip it in spearmint oil…
    Thanks for the post.

  6. Kim
    on Jun 23rd, 2011
    @ 10:34 pm

    I am a teacher of high school and this has inspired me to at least offer students a peppermint before testing and tell them I read something that says it will improve their test scores.

    I read a previous entry from someone that expressed the need to not test our students “so darn much” and while I am in completely agree that our student are over tested and that they really need to be tested in more “meaningful” ways I wonder if anyone has a suggestion as to how exactly we are supposed to test the multitude of children we need to assess.

    Many things sound good in writing or on paper, communism being an extreme example, so how is it exactly that we are supposed to correctly assess the children of our day?

    I feel I am a of a more holistic personality than many others I meet in the scientific realm and I have heard of the wonders that can come from the exposure to camomile, lavender, mints of many sorts, rosemary and other herbs and spices of the like. So as far as I am concerned, I am unable at this juncture to come up with a perfect workable plan to allow for students of this day and age to display their knowledge, and as long as I am required to majorly assess my students around 9 times a year I’m thinking that peppermint may be just up my alley for experimentation! Plus my kiddos love candies so how could it hurt.

    It may even be a good scientific experiment to keep track of as an exercise for data collection in real world applications within the classroom. While I find it hard at this point to identify a good control for a placebo, besides some have it an some don’t, it may still enable me to aid my students in a thorough real world on going experiment.

  7. Bob
    on Mar 6th, 2012
    @ 12:10 pm

    Kids given placebos in attempt to raise test scores : Hagen Road Elementary west of Boynton Beach feeding students an FCAT ‘power bar’


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