The Veteran Cognition and Academic Success (VCAS) research project is dedicated to understanding the factors that improve academic success in military veteran college students. Currently, there is little support or clear resources for military veteran college students who experience cognitive problems, such as attention or memory difficulties. These cognitive problems may stem from issues related to post-deployment syndrome, including diagnosed (and undiagnosed) head injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or general anxiety disorder. When attentional and memory problems are relatively subtle, they may not be revealed in cognitive screening tasks and daily functioning will not be profoundly affected. However, in an academic setting, even minor attention/memory problems can have a huge impact on performance. Many veteran students anecdotally report struggling in their college classes due to difficulty focusing their attention during class lectures, difficulty in retaining information, difficulty in remembering class material despite a considerable amount of study time, and/or high distractibility during lectures, studying, and testing. The students express their frustration in not understanding exactly what is wrong and, thus, not knowing how to “fix it.”
This project offers valuable resources to military veteran students by providing to them: information regarding their individual memory and attention abilities, an understanding of the variables that can affect their learning performance, and techniques and strategies that may improve their learning success.
This project focuses on three areas:
1) Memory and Attention Profiles for Veteran Students
2) Examining the Variables that Affect Test Performance
3) Assessing Intervention Techniques and Compensatory Strategies