Quantitative analyses of schooling effects on executive function in young children

Simon M. McCrea*, John H. Mueller, Rauno K. Parrila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Developmental studies have demonstrated the utility of select executive function (EF) tasks for the early diagnosis of specific learning-related problems. However, previous data demonstrating schooling effects on EF measures suggests potential pitfalls in clinical interpretation. In the present study three common EF measures, (Wisconsin Card Sort, Thurstone Word Fluency, and a mazes task) in addition to a VIQ estimating task, were administered to a cross-section of 115 children aged 7 to 9. Using a school-entrance cut-off design the unique contributions of formal schooling versus age-related changes to performance on the EF measures were examined. Schooling effects were both task and age-dependent supporting the conclusion that the proper use of EF measures with children in this age range depends upon consideration of factors beyond that usually depicted in net-effect models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-250
Number of pages9
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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