Do Academically Gifted Children and Adolescents Also Score …

Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development

Poster Presentations

Poster Presentation 14 — Do Academically Gifted Children and Adolescents Also Score Well in Executive Functions?Saiying Steenbergen-Hu, Eric Calvert, & Paula Olszewski-Kubilius

Monday, May 20, 2024, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Student Union Ballroom, Rooms 330/331

Executive functions (EF) refer to a set of skills that are essential for goal-related behaviors, such as sustaining attention, controlling inappropriate speech or behavior, switching focus, managing time, planning, and organizing. Participants in this session will find out the outcomes of an empirical study regarding the EF and academic ability of children and adolescents identified as gifted through above-grade-level testing (e.g., a student takes an ACT test in 7th grade). In this study, 402 students and 402 paired parents were recruited through the Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS) program. The ages of the 231 ACT takers ranged 11 to 16, and those of the 171 EXPLORE takers ranged from 8 to 13 years old. Students’ EF were measured with the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) self-report (BRIEF-SR) and parent-report (BRIEF) forms. Key findings included: (a) Overall, students’ self-rating of their EF skills was better than their parents’ assessments; (b) Gender was a significant predictor of ACT math and reading percentile levels; and (c) Students’ working memory as rated by parents and self-reported emotional control significantly predicted the probabilities of students achieving different levels of math and/reading percentile score in ACT and/or EXPLORE tests.