The relationship between executive functioning and writing skill in adolescence

Jessica Marie Brunner, Fordham University


Executive functioning (EF) has been found to significantly predict academic achievement in reading and mathematics, school-readiness skills, and performance on high-stakes tests. Although EF involves many of the same processes required in writing, the relationship between the two has been largely unexplored and undocumented in the literature. The present study was designed to close that gap through investigation of the relationship between EF and written expression in a sample of 67 14- to 18-year-old high school students in an upper-middle class suburb in the Midwest. Participants were administered the self-rating forms of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), a questionnaire on which they rated their perceptions of their behaviors associated with EF. Their English teachers completed the teacher rating form. Overall global EF scores and domain scores for working memory, inhibition, and shifting were extracted from each rating form. Participants constructed brief essays in response to a given prompt via administration of the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - Third Edition (WIAT-III). A series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine whether teacher and self-ratings of EF predicted written expression performance above and beyond the effect of intelligence and age. Results were not significant. However, further investigation of this topic is warranted to facilitate understanding of written expression and the importance of executive functioning.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Developmental psychology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Brunner, Jessica Marie, "The relationship between executive functioning and writing skill in adolescence" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3588232.