Measuring the development of executive control with the shape school

Kimberly Andrews Espy*, Rebecca Bull, Jessica Martin, Walter Stroup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Although several neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders can emerge during the preschool period, there are comparatively few instruments to assess executive control. Evidence for validity of the Shape School (K. A. Espy, 1997) was examined in a sample of 219 typically developing young children. There was good evidence for validity, as Shape School performance variables were interrelated and were associated to other criterion measures considered to measure aspects of executive control. Also suggesting validity, the Shape School variables varied as a function of whether the task demands (a) were executive, (b) required inhibition of a prepotent response or context-controlled selection among relevant stimulus-response sets, and (c) included unitary or concurrent processing. The Shape School may be an effective tool by which to measure executive control in young children who have atypical developmental patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • executive function
  • cognitive assessment
  • preschoolers
  • hierarchical linear modeling


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