Executive functioning and mathematics achievement

Rebecca BULL, Kerry LEE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

362 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of executive functioning (EF) skills in mathematical achievement is well established, and researchers have moved from just measuring working memory or updating to an inclusion of other EF skills, namely, inhibition and shifting. In this article, we review studies that have taken different approaches to measuring EF (e.g., using single vs. multiple indicators) and those that have applied different analytical techniques to conceptualize the structure of EF (e.g., exploratory vs. confirmatory techniques). Across studies, updating is often a unique predictor of math achievement at many ages; the findings relating to inhibition and switching are less conclusive. We discuss these findings in relation to age-related variance in EF structure, the nature of inhibitory and shifting task requirements, and the role of updating as a limiting factor or a common resource for inhibition and shifting. Copyright © 2014 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-41
JournalChild Development Perspectives
Issue number1
Early online dateFeb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Bull, R., & Lee, K. (2014). Executive functioning and mathematics achievement. Child Development Perspectives, 8(1), 36-41. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12059


  • Executive function
  • Mathematics


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