The measurement of executive function at age 5: psychometric properties and relationship to academic achievement

Psychol Assess. 2012 Mar;24(1):226-39. doi: 10.1037/a0025361. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


This study examined the psychometric properties and criterion validity of a newly developed battery of executive function (EF) tasks for use in early childhood. The battery was included in the Family Life Project (FLP), a prospective longitudinal study of families who were oversampled from low-income and African American families at the birth of a new child (N = 1,292). Ninety-nine percent (N = 1,036) of children who participated in the age 5 home visit completed 1 or more (M = 5.8, Mdn = 6) of the 6 EF tasks. Results indicated that tasks worked equally well for children residing in low-income and not low-income homes, that task scores were most informative about the ability level of children in the low-average range, that performance on EF tasks was best characterized by a single factor, and that individual differences on the EF battery were strongly related to a latent variable measuring overall academic achievement, as well as to individual standardized tests that measured phonological awareness, letter-word identification, and early math skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • House Calls
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Poverty
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Speech Perception