Development of a Computerized Assessment of Executive Function for Preschool-Aged Children

The purpose of this project is to further develop and evaluate a computerized assessment of executive functioning for use with preschool-aged children. The assessment is conducted with a laptop (or netbook) and a stand-alone touch screen monitor that is connected to the laptop. The computer program displays text on the laptop screen that is ready by interviewers, verbatim, to children describing the nature of the task/item. Simultaneously, the computer program displays test stimuli to children on the touch-screen monitor that sits directly in front of them. Children respond to each item by touching the screen. Their response is “captured” using a capacitive touch screen monitor and stored in a comma delimited file on the laptop for later scoring and analysis.

The proposed work will occur in three stages. In the first two stages (pilot testing, test-retest study), children will complete the newly developed computerized assessment of executive functioning. In the third stage of work, children will complete the newly developed computerized assessment of executive functioning at the first visit and will compete one of three possible subsets of validation tasks at the second visit using a planned missing design. This facilitates a broader set of validation activities while minimizing testing burden of individual children. Validation tasks will include subtests of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence (assessment of intellectual functioning and processing speed), the Woodcock Johnson III tests of Achievement and the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (assessments of academic readiness), or the WJ Cognitive and the NEPSY-II (standard assessment of executive functioning). Similarly, teachers will complete one of three possible (planned missing design) sets of rating scales.

A combination of Item Response Theory and Structural Equation Models will be used to evaluate the psychometric properties of the computerized battery, as well as to evaluate the construct and criterion validity of the battery.

FPG Project Staff:
Laura J. Kuhn, Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
Funding Period: 03/01/2012 - 02/29/2016
Award Amount: $1,600,001