Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Abstract

Executive functions, a set of interrelated processes that facilitate organization and self control, impact many aspects of academic and social success. This study investigates the benefits of executive function skills instruction on classroom behavior. Factor analyses reveal executive function orients around three distinct but interrelated factors: inhibition, working memory, and flexibility. Using a spiraling curriculum eight fourth and fifth grade students from a suburban Title 1 elementary school were directly taught these skills over ten 30 minute sessions. Using a pre/post survey of behavior indicative of executive function, both students and teachers expressed mixed results suggesting some impact of the intervention on classroom behavior. Six of eight teacher surveys report positive but limited behavior change and five of eight students reported growth in executive skills. Future interventions may benefit from more open communication with teachers and more specific pre-post survey questions.

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