"Executive Function Deficits in Kindergarten Predict Repeated Academic Difficulties Across Elementary School"
AERA 2018 Annual Meeting: “The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education”
April 13-17, 2018
Title: Executive Function Deficits in Kindergarten Predict Repeated Academic Difficulties Across Elementary School
Authors: Paul L. Morgan, George Farkas, Yangyang Wang, Marianne Hillemeier, Yoonkyung Oh, Steven Maczuga
To what extent deficits in executive functions (EF) increase children’s risk for repeated academic difficulties across elementary school is currently unknown. We used growth mixture modeling to analyze 1st- through 3rd-grade mathematics, reading, and science achievement trajectories of a large (N=8,330) sample of kindergarten children. The modeling yielded four general types of 1st - through 3rd-grade achievement growth trajectories. One was characterized by initially low levels of achievement that averaged about two standard deviations below the mean in first grade and remained low or declined further by third grade. Deficits in EF, especially in working memory but also in cognitive flexibility or inhibitory control, increased kindergarten children’s risk of experiencing repeated academic difficulties from 1st to 3rd grade.