Contribution of rating scales to the assessment of executive functions

Appl Neuropsychol Child. 2013;2(2):125-32. doi: 10.1080/21622965.2013.748389. Epub 2013 Feb 26.


Executive functions play a vital role in the everyday functioning of healthy individuals across the lifespan and have been implicated in a wide variety of clinical conditions. Historically, the assessment of executive functions in clinical and research settings relied on performance-based measures. A number of authors have argued, however, that such measures have limited ecological validity. In response to this limitation of performance-based measures, several rating scales have been developed that seek to gauge a person's or their knowledgeable informant's (e.g., parent or teacher) subjective view of executive functioning in everyday life. In this article we review evidence supporting the use of rating scales of executive function including profiles in clinical populations, biological correlates, relationships to relevant outcome measures such as academic performance, and correlations with performance-based measures. We conclude that performance-based and rating scale measures provide complementary information with respect to a child's executive functions, offering a more comprehension view than either approach alone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards*
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*