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Executive functions differentially contribute to scholastic skills in fourth graders.

Abstract : Executive functions (EFs) are widely known to play a critical role in school achievement. EFs generally include working memory, inhibition, and shifting. While working memory appears to be implicated in numeracy and literacy, the contribution of inhibition and shifting to school achievement are less clear. Given the importance of the inter-individual differences in these domains, various tests of math, reading, and spelling must be used to measure the influence of EFs on different scholastic skills in the same school-aged children. However, studies using such tests are scarce. The present study thus explored whether EFs differentially contribute to mathematics, reading, and spelling skills in fourth-grade children (N = 71). A comprehensive test battery that included tasks measuring various EFs (working memory, inhibition, and shifting) and scholastic skills (math, reading, and spelling) was administered. The results revealed that EF skills are strongly related to scholastic skills in predicting the children's scholastic achievement in both literacy and numeracy. However, the examined EF components differentially contributed to different scholastic domains: (1) working memory and inhibition were found to account for the unique variance in mathematics skills, (2) working memory and shifting accounted for the unique variance in reading skills, and (3) only shifting accounted for the unique variance in spelling skills. The implications of these findings for children and teachers are discussed. The benefits of certain school-based cognitive programs that aim to improve EFs have already demonstrated in preschool children and schoolchildren. Future work should investigate these types of programs, particularly with respect to their effects on scholastic skills. Unfortunately, many teachers are not explicitly aware of the importance of EF skills for academic learning. Thus, efforts to improve children’s school achievement should particularly focus on teachers’ awareness of the role of EFs in scholastic skills.
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Contributor : Laetitia Boulc'H Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 3:43:39 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 25, 2021 - 3:45:45 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01346783, version 1


Amélie Lubin, Emmanuelle Regrin, Laetitia Boulc'H, Sébastien Pacton, Céline Lanoë. Executive functions differentially contribute to scholastic skills in fourth graders. . 17th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Sep 2015, Braga, Portugal. ⟨halshs-01346783⟩



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