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Ahmadi A, Behpajooh A, Shokoohi-Yekta M, Arjmandi A A, Azizi M P. The Effectiveness of Cognitive Plays on Executive Function and Math Achievement of Preschool Children at Risk for Mathematic Difficulties. mejds. 2017; 7 :82-82
URL: http://jdisabilstud.ir/article-1-767-en.html
1- University of Tehran
2- Islamic Azad University
Abstract:   (2676 Views)

Background & Objective: The good executive function skills during early childhood found to be a strong predictor of academic achievement. In recent years, some studies have indicated that children who have problem in executive function skills are at an increased risk for learning difficulties particularly in math. Executive function skills composed of working memory, response control and cognitive flexibility. These skills have a critical impact on everyday performance and children's school readiness. As growing number of research support the relation between mathematics and executive function skills, researchers and educators began to focus on the question of transfer effect of executive function training on academic performance or daily activities, which there is a dearth of empirical research on this issue. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to evaluate the effectiveness of cognitive games on working memory, cognitive flexibility, response control, attention, planning and basic math skills of preschool children at risk for mathematical difficulties.
Methods: in a Quasi experimental study, the pre-test post-test design with the control group was used. Forty preschool children at risk for mathematical difficulties were selected based on a multi-level screening of low performance in mathematics from six kindergartens and preschool centers in district two of Tehran. The participants were chosen in two stages. First, potential participants were nominated by the teacher as low performance children then if they scored one or more standard deviation below the mean in basic mathematical skills were considered at risk for mathematic difficulties. Participants randomly were assigned to either the experimental or the control group. Participants of the experimental group received 24 sessions of executive function training while the control group followed their routine educational plans. The intervention combined both computerized and non- computerized games. Activities were accommodated based on the children’s performance and structured from easy to difficult level. The Kohansedgh Basic Mathematical Skills for Children (KBMSC), Tehran- Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition (TSB-5), Stroop and Tower of London were used to assess participant’s performance in terms of cognitive and academic skills at the beginning and the after intervention.
Results: Participants average age was 73.5 months (SD=5.21). There were no significant differences between the experimental and the control group in terms IQ, basic math skills or age. Findings of covariance analysis controlling for pretest scores, indicated significant differences among the experimental and the control group in terms of working memory (F=20.24, p=0.001, η2 =0.42) and cognitive flexibility (F=7.54, p=0.010, η2 =0.22). Although, after the intervention, the children in the intervention group scored higher in the areas of math ability, response control, attention and planning skills than the comparison group, but the differences were not significant (p>0.05).
Conclusion: : Implications of research findings suggest including executive function training to the preschool curriculum especially for at risk children, which might improve their school readiness and prevent or reduced the chance of learning disabilities. To the best of our knowledge, this research is one of the first study evaluating the effect of executive function training with the Maghzineh software in at risk preschool children.

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Type of Study: Review Article | Subject: Psychology
Received: 2017/03/11 | Accepted: 2017/04/27

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