Behavioral Executive Functions Among Adolescents With Mathematics Difficulties

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Marja E. Holm, Pirjo Aunio, Piia M. Björn, Liisa Klenberg, Johan Korhonen, Markku S. Hannula
Publisher: Sage
Publication year: 2018
Journal: Journal of Learning Disabilities
Journal acronym: J Learn Disabil
Volume number: 51
Issue number: 6
Start page: 578
End page: 588
ISSN: 1538-4780
eISSN: 1538-4780


This study investigates behavioral executive functions (EFs) in the mathematics classroom context among adolescents with different mathematics performance levels. The EF problems were assessed by teachers using a behavioral rating inventory. Using cutoff scores on a standardized mathematics assessment, groups with mathematics difficulties (MD; n = 124), low mathematics performance (LA; n = 140), and average or higher scores (AC; n = 355) were identified. Results showed that the MD group had more problems with distractibility, directing attention, shifting attention, initiative, execution of action, planning, and evaluation than the LA group, whereas the differences in hyperactivity, impulsivity, and sustaining attention were not significant. Compared to the AC group, the MD group showed more problems with all behavioral EFs except hyperactivity and impulsivity, while the LA group showed more problems only with shifting attention. Male adolescents showed more behavioral EF problems than female adolescents, but this gender difference was negligible within the MD group. The practical implications of the results are discussed.


adolescents, behavioral executive functions, mathematics difficulties

Last updated on 2020-22-09 at 06:03