The role of executive functions in the relation between socioeconomic level and the development of reading and maths skills

José Pablo Escobar, Ricardo Rosas-Díaz, Francisco Ceric, Andrés Aparicio, Paulina Arango, Rodrigo Arroyo, Victoria Espinoza, Marion Garolera, Marcelo Pizarro, Felipe Porflitt, María Paz Ramírez, Diego Urzúa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Executive functions (EF) are a set of processes that allow individuals to plan, monitor and organize tasks and thus play a key role in the development of reading and maths skills. Environmental factors such as socioeconomic level (SEL) influence reading and maths skills as well as EFs. The aim of this study is to explore the extent to which executive functions play a mediating role between SEL and reading and maths performance. To this end, we assessed 286 Chilean primary education students: 86 with a high SEL and 200 with a low level. The results show that the high-SEL group obtained consistently higher scores than their peers with low SEL levels in both reading and maths tasks as well as in EF measurements. This suggests that SEL could influence the development of these variables. The results also showed that EFs partially mediate the relation between SEL and reading and maths skills in primary school students through the specific function of inhibition. The results are discussed in light of the effect of SEL on the development of EFs and school learning.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)368-392
Number of pages25
JournalCultura y Educacion
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognitive development
  • Executive functions
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Socioeconomic level

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