Reference : Measures of Executive Functions and Mathematical Skills are Distinct Even at a Young ...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Measures of Executive Functions and Mathematical Skills are Distinct Even at a Young Age: A Meta-Analysis with Preschool Children
Emslander, Valentin mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET) >]
Scherer, Ronny []
Frontier Research in Educational Measurement Conference
09.09.2020 to 10.09.2020
Centre for Educational Measurement Oslo (CEMO)
[en] Executive functions ; Mathematics ; Meta-analysis ; Preschool children ; Inhibition ; Shifting ; Updating ; Working memory
[en] Measures of executive functions (inhibition, attention shifting, working memory) are linked to measures of mathematical skills in school students and adults. However, the magnitude of this relation in preschool children is unclear. Following the literature on the differentiation of cognitive skills over time, some researchers suggest that tests of executive functions and mathematical skills measure the same underlying construct, while others suggest that they measure correlated but distinct constructs. This dispute does not only tap the question of how the constructs can be understood but also the question of cost and test efficiency (i.e., assessments of single vs. multiple constructs). Clarifying the relation between measures of the two constructs can be especially challenging because preschoolers cannot fill in commonly used questionnaires that require them to read. Thus, researchers have to resort to behavioral, verbal, apparatus-, or computer-based assessments of executive functions. As a result, executive functions may vary in their relation to mathematical skills as a consequence of their measurement.
We examined the link between executive functions and early mathematical skills measures, conducting a meta-analysis of 26 studies containing 238 effect sizes for a total sample of 24,256 preschool children. Specifically, we synthesized the corresponding correlations and aimed to clarify which executive function assessments were used for preschool children and how assessment characteristics may moderate the correlation between executive functions and mathematical skills.
Three-level random-effects meta-analysis revealed a small to moderate average correlation between executive functions and mathematical skills measures of preschool children, r = 0.35. The type of assessment (behavioral, verbal, apparatus-, or computer-based assessments) did not moderate this relation. Investigating the three executive functions separately, we found average correlations of r = 0.31 between mathematical skills and inhibition, r = 0.38 between mathematical skills and attention shifting, and r = 0.36 between mathematical skills and updating. These analyses will be supplemented by further moderator and sensitivity analyses.
These findings emphasize the significant link between executive functions and mathematical skills measures in preschoolers—hereby, supporting that the measures of both constructs are distinct. In addition, under-researched areas around the assessment of executive functions and mathematical abilities will be discussed.
This conference was cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic

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