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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Study Overlooks Impact of Executive Function Coaching

From Beyond Booksmart
via The Boston Globe

May 31, 2015

NOTE: Learn more HERE about the study and related Globe article to which the following Letter to the Editor refers.


To the Editor:

Amy Crawford’s article “Brain games bust?” highlights findings from a recent study that found little evidence of efficacy for executive function interventions in improving math and reading skills.

We’ve built thriving careers based on helping students improve their executive function skills so that they can manage their academics more effectively.

While the study does contain some relevant findings for educators, the connection to executive function coaching fails once we inspect the subject criteria, the methods of assessing achievement, and the instruction methods for executive function skills selected.

The sound bite attached to the study casts doubts on all executive function interventions, when in reality, the researchers’ meta analysis looked at narrow criteria for their young subjects.

The researchers’ premise that a causal connection between school-based executive function programs and scores on discrete skills such as reading and math must be established before continuing to fund executive function programs is illogical.

Executive functions are the skills that help students regulate their emotions, organize their materials and ideas, plan and prioritize their work, manage their time and persist until the job is done. In essence, executive functions help a student effectively apply discrete skills such as decoding words and adding double digit numbers.

Development of those discrete academic skills is the purview of teachers and tutors. Executive function coaches work with the bigger picture. Hundreds of families we’ve served over the past nine years know that our interventions are effective.

Chief Executive

Senior Coach and Director of Public Relations

Beyond BookSmart
Needham, MA

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