This is the second volume of Executive Function and Education
Executive function is an umbrella term that refers to are a set of essential cognitive functions that enable goal-oriented and socially adapted behavior. They allow us to keep important information in mind, reflect on that information in the context of new situations, suppress old ways of reacting, and consider new actions in a flexible way. As executive function had become a ‘buzzword’ in the educational field - we (Huizinga et al., 2018) initiated a Frontiers Research Topic
on executive function and education. We aimed to provide a discussion of the state-of-the-art theoretical and empirical work on this topic. The papers clearly highlighted the fundamental role of executive function in academic achievement. The importance of both distal and proximal parent and family factors, as well as characteristics of the teacher-child interactions for executive function development and, in turn, academic achievement, were stressed. These findings underlie the notion that contextual factors should be taken into account in remedial interventions and curriculum design. In addition, the intervention studies indicated that executive function training programs had evolved into broader intervention programs, which are generally implemented in the specific context where the executive function should be applied for the actions of interest and in light of individual differences.
Now we take the topic one step further by focusing on the role of executive function in academic success, by not only focusing on the child’s performance but also on his/her functioning in the school context. Traditionally, academic success is interpreted quite narrowly by focusing on grades, drop-out, or the (pre)conditions for mathematics and literacy skills. In this Research Topic, we aim to extend this perspective with individual differences in child behavior shown to affect academic success, such as peer contact, emotion regulation in the classroom, learning disorders, etc. The aim of this Research Topic is to provide a forum for discussion and debate on different perspectives and approaches to understanding the links between executive function and academic success across populations.
We invite researchers with various expertise and research methodologies to contribute original empirical research. Contributions can be articles describing original research, methods, meta-analyses or meta-regressions, hypotheses & theory, opinions, etc. that -by design- contribute to establishing evidence for the causal role of executive function in academic success. We hope that researchers from different areas, such as developmental psychology, educational psychology, experimental psychology, neuropsychology, clinical psychology, psychiatry, etc. will be represented in this Research Topic.
Issues that we would like to address include:
(1) A focus on the role of executive function in learning and adaptation in the school context.
(2) A focus on (inter)individual differences in executive function (e.g., developmental conditions) in relation to academic success.
(3) A focus on protective and risk factors in the child’s context (e.g., socio-economic status, teacher-student interactions) in relation to (interventions for) executive function and academic success