Executive functions predict conceptual learning of science

Sinead M. Rhodes, Josephine N. Booth, Lorna Elise Palmer, Richard A. Blythe, Mirela Delibegovic, Nial J. Wheate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We examined the relationship between executive functions and both factual and conceptual learning of science, specifically chemistry, in early adolescence. Sixty-three pupils in their second year of secondary school (aged 12-13 years) participated. Pupils completed tasks of working memory (Spatial Working Memory), inhibition (Stop-Signal), attention set-shifting (ID/ED), and planning (Stockings of Cambridge), from the CANTAB. They also participated in a chemistry teaching session, practical, and assessment on the topic of acids and alkalis designed specifically for this study. Executive function data were related to (1) the chemistry assessment which included aspects of factual and conceptual learning and (2) a recent school science exam. Correlational analyses between executive functions and both the chemistry assessment and science grades revealed that science achievements were significantly correlated with working memory. Linear regression analysis revealed that visuospatial working memory ability was predictive of chemistry performance. Interestingly, this relationship was observed solely in relation to the conceptual learning condition of the assessment highlighting the role of executive functions in understanding and applying knowledge about what is learned within science teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-275
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume34
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Fingerprint

Executive Function
Short-Term Memory
Learning
Pupil
Teaching
Aptitude
Alkalies
Linear Models
Regression Analysis
Acids

Keywords

  • executive function
  • working memory
  • conceptual learning
  • science

Cite this

Rhodes, S. M., Booth, J. N., Palmer, L. E., Blythe, R. A., Delibegovic, M., & Wheate, N. J. (2016). Executive functions predict conceptual learning of science. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 34(2), 261-275. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjdp.12129

Executive functions predict conceptual learning of science. / Rhodes, Sinead M.; Booth, Josephine N.; Palmer, Lorna Elise ; Blythe, Richard A.; Delibegovic, Mirela; Wheate, Nial J.

In: British Journal of Developmental Psychology, Vol. 34, No. 2, 06.2016, p. 261-275.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rhodes, Sinead M. ; Booth, Josephine N. ; Palmer, Lorna Elise ; Blythe, Richard A. ; Delibegovic, Mirela ; Wheate, Nial J. / Executive functions predict conceptual learning of science. In: British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 2016 ; Vol. 34, No. 2. pp. 261-275.
@article{ab979d6724314752ba2c5797e378b3fb,
title = "Executive functions predict conceptual learning of science",
abstract = "We examined the relationship between executive functions and both factual and conceptual learning of science, specifically chemistry, in early adolescence. Sixty-three pupils in their second year of secondary school (aged 12-13 years) participated. Pupils completed tasks of working memory (Spatial Working Memory), inhibition (Stop-Signal), attention set-shifting (ID/ED), and planning (Stockings of Cambridge), from the CANTAB. They also participated in a chemistry teaching session, practical, and assessment on the topic of acids and alkalis designed specifically for this study. Executive function data were related to (1) the chemistry assessment which included aspects of factual and conceptual learning and (2) a recent school science exam. Correlational analyses between executive functions and both the chemistry assessment and science grades revealed that science achievements were significantly correlated with working memory. Linear regression analysis revealed that visuospatial working memory ability was predictive of chemistry performance. Interestingly, this relationship was observed solely in relation to the conceptual learning condition of the assessment highlighting the role of executive functions in understanding and applying knowledge about what is learned within science teaching.",
keywords = "executive function, working memory, conceptual learning, science",
author = "Rhodes, {Sinead M.} and Booth, {Josephine N.} and Palmer, {Lorna Elise} and Blythe, {Richard A.} and Mirela Delibegovic and Wheate, {Nial J.}",
year = "2016",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1111/bjdp.12129",
language = "English",
volume = "34",
pages = "261--275",
journal = "British Journal of Developmental Psychology",
issn = "0261-510X",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Executive functions predict conceptual learning of science

AU - Rhodes, Sinead M.

AU - Booth, Josephine N.

AU - Palmer, Lorna Elise

AU - Blythe, Richard A.

AU - Delibegovic, Mirela

AU - Wheate, Nial J.

PY - 2016/6

Y1 - 2016/6

N2 - We examined the relationship between executive functions and both factual and conceptual learning of science, specifically chemistry, in early adolescence. Sixty-three pupils in their second year of secondary school (aged 12-13 years) participated. Pupils completed tasks of working memory (Spatial Working Memory), inhibition (Stop-Signal), attention set-shifting (ID/ED), and planning (Stockings of Cambridge), from the CANTAB. They also participated in a chemistry teaching session, practical, and assessment on the topic of acids and alkalis designed specifically for this study. Executive function data were related to (1) the chemistry assessment which included aspects of factual and conceptual learning and (2) a recent school science exam. Correlational analyses between executive functions and both the chemistry assessment and science grades revealed that science achievements were significantly correlated with working memory. Linear regression analysis revealed that visuospatial working memory ability was predictive of chemistry performance. Interestingly, this relationship was observed solely in relation to the conceptual learning condition of the assessment highlighting the role of executive functions in understanding and applying knowledge about what is learned within science teaching.

AB - We examined the relationship between executive functions and both factual and conceptual learning of science, specifically chemistry, in early adolescence. Sixty-three pupils in their second year of secondary school (aged 12-13 years) participated. Pupils completed tasks of working memory (Spatial Working Memory), inhibition (Stop-Signal), attention set-shifting (ID/ED), and planning (Stockings of Cambridge), from the CANTAB. They also participated in a chemistry teaching session, practical, and assessment on the topic of acids and alkalis designed specifically for this study. Executive function data were related to (1) the chemistry assessment which included aspects of factual and conceptual learning and (2) a recent school science exam. Correlational analyses between executive functions and both the chemistry assessment and science grades revealed that science achievements were significantly correlated with working memory. Linear regression analysis revealed that visuospatial working memory ability was predictive of chemistry performance. Interestingly, this relationship was observed solely in relation to the conceptual learning condition of the assessment highlighting the role of executive functions in understanding and applying knowledge about what is learned within science teaching.

KW - executive function

KW - working memory

KW - conceptual learning

KW - science

U2 - 10.1111/bjdp.12129

DO - 10.1111/bjdp.12129

M3 - Article

VL - 34

SP - 261

EP - 275

JO - British Journal of Developmental Psychology

JF - British Journal of Developmental Psychology

SN - 0261-510X

IS - 2

ER -