Predicting Early Academic Achievement: An Investigation of the Contribution of Executive Function
AuthorJerauld, Joy Meredith
Committee ChairWodrich, David
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study investigated the important question of whether pupils' executive functions (EF) predict early academic achievement. Current conceptualizations suggest that developmental trends in EF can be measured in young children and that EF may play an important role in predicting academic achievement and school readiness. To date, however, there is little empirical support for this assertion. This study explored EF skills of 3- to 5 year-olds using the Dimensional Change Card Sort Task (DCCS). The first objective was to determine if EF indeed predicts math, reading, and writing achievement in 3- to 5-year-olds. The second objective was to determine if EF's prediction of academics occurs independent of the contribution made by general ability (e.g., Battelle motor and language subdomains). The third objective was to determine if the contribution of EF remains uniform across the age span. Consequently, existing data from 969 participants between 54 to 71 months was used. This consisted of scores on the DCCS as well as the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) to measure early reading and writing skills, the Test of Early Math Ability -Third Edition (TEMA-3) to measure early math skills, and sections of the Battelle Developmental Inventory 2nd Edition (BDI- 2) to measure general development. A positive relationship between EF and early math, reading, and writing skills was found. Also EF, as measured by the DCCS, contributed a significant portion of variance in early math, reading, and writing skills after accounting for general development, age, and socioeconomic status. Finally, the contribution of EF to early reading and writing skills remained stable between 3 and 5 years old. In contrast, EF was a stronger predictor of early math skills among 3-year-olds when compared to 5- year-olds.
Degree ProgramGraduate College