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Trialling an executive function training intervention for preschoolers

Researchers: Dr Daniel Carroll | Dr Danielle Matthews ...

Project overview

Research has shown that executive functioning skills ‘ such as being able to pay attention, inhibit impulsive behaviours and keep relevant information in mind ‘ are important for effective learning.

There is also evidence that school-age children’s executive functions can be improved through cognitive training and that cognitive training can be particularly effective for children with poor initial skills.

This study focuses on typically developing pre-school children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. It will test whether a short executive function training programme gives lasting benefits on a range of academic outcomes. It will also explore whether the effects of the intervention are greater for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The intervention involves children completing four computerised tasks, once a week for four weeks. The intervention will be evaluated via a randomised controlled trial, comparing children who take part in the executive functioning training programme with an active control group.

The project aims to help close the achievement gap by targeting strong predictors of academic outcomes at an early age when children might benefit most from training.

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    • Dr Daniel Carroll
      University of Sheffield
    • Dr Danielle Matthews
      University of Sheffield
    • Dr Lucy Cragg
      University of Nottingham
    • Dr Emma Blakey
      University of Sheffield

    • Programme Head, Education
      Nuffield Foundation
    • Director, Education
      Nuffield Foundation

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    We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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