Executive functioning as a predictor of children's mathematics, reading and writing

Debora Valcan, Helen Davis, Deborah Pino Pasternak, Anabela Malpique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Executive functioning (EF) in early childhood predicts both concurrent and future academic achievement. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the potential pathways through which this might occur. The present study compared two models through which EF might plausibly predict academic outcomes 1 year later.
Structural equation modelling analyses were conducted on a longitudinal dataset from 176 children at the end of Kindergarten (age M = 5 years, 8 months; SD = 4.02 months) and 1 year later (age M = 6 years, 5 months; SD= 3.65 months). Kindergarten EF predicted Year 1 mathematics and handwriting automaticity only via Kindergarten mathematics and handwriting automaticity, respectively. In contrast, Kindergarten EF predicted Year 1 reading and writing quality directly, as well as indirectly via Kindergarten reading and handwriting automaticity, respectively. These results suggest that EF predicts later achievement via early achievement, and also predicts longitudinal growth potential independently of early academic achievement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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