The development of executive functioning across the transition to first grade and its predictive value for academic achievement
Loren Vandenbroucke, Parenting and Special Education Research Unit, Belgium ; Karine Verschueren, School Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development Research Unit, Belgium ; Dieter Baeyens, Parenting and Special Education Research Unit, Belgium
Learning and Instruction Volume 49, Number 1, ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Executive functions (EFs), used to guide goal-directed behavior, are essential for adequate classroom functioning. The current study aims to, (1) examine development and stability of three core EFs (working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility) across the transition to first grade; and (2) investigate the relationship of EFs with academic achievement, taking into account their multidimensionality and interconnections. EF tasks were administered at the end of kindergarten and first grade (n = 89) and standardized achievement tests at the end of first grade. Results indicate moderate to large growth and stability in working memory and cognitive flexibility and small improvements and stability in inhibition. Working memory predicted academic achievement, cognitive flexibility had a limited role and no additional contribution of inhibition was found. The current study suggests that the transitional period to first grade can be an important period to promote EF development, which in turn can support the prevention of later school problems.
Vandenbroucke, L., Verschueren, K. & Baeyens, D. (2017). The development of executive functioning across the transition to first grade and its predictive value for academic achievement. Learning and Instruction, 49(1), 103-112. Elsevier Ltd.