Executive functioning and mathematics achievement

Rebecca Bull*, Kerry Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

212 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of executive functioning (EF) skills in mathematical achievement is well established, and researchers have moved from just measuring working memory or updating to an inclusion of other EF skills, namely, inhibition and shifting. In this article, we review studies that have taken different approaches to measuring EF (e.g., using single vs. multiple indicators) and those that have applied different analytical techniques to conceptualize the structure of EF (e.g., exploratory vs. confirmatory techniques). Across studies, updating is often a unique predictor of math achievement at many ages; the findings relating to inhibition and switching are less conclusive. We discuss these findings in relation to age-related variance in EF structure, the nature of inhibitory and shifting task requirements, and the role of updating as a limiting factor or a common resource for inhibition and shifting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-41
Number of pages6
JournalChild Development Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • executive function
  • mathematics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Executive functioning and mathematics achievement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this