The influence of executive functioning on reading comprehension among grade seven pupils in selected primary schools in Itezhi-tezhi district, Zambia.
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The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of executive functioning on reading comprehension among grade seven pupils in selected primary schools in Itezhi-tezhi District. The objectives of the study were to: assess executive function skills among seventh graders, measure reading comprehension levels among seventh graders and establish correlation between executive function and reading comprehension among seventh graders. The study utilized a quasi-experimental design. A total sample size of 216 respondents comprising pupils and parents was used in the study. The study used simple and stratified random sampling techniques to select respondents. Data was collected using the following testing tools: Behavioural Rating Inventory for Executive Functions second edition (BRIEF2) as a subjective measure of executive function, Delis-Kaplan Executive function system (D.KEFS), Digit Span, Pencil Taping (opposite taping) as objective measure of executive function, Reading Comprehension Assessment Tool (RCAT), Kaufman’s Pattern Reasoning Test (K-PRT), Biographic Data Form (BDF), Home Literacy Environment Questionnaire (HLEQ) and School Literacy Environment Checklist (SELC). Data was analysed using Stata version14 and both descriptive and correlations were performed. The study found that a greater number n=75 (69%) of seventh graders had poor executive function skills when tested using objective measures of executive function. Only a minority n=25 (31 %) had good executive functions. On the subjective measure of executive function skills using Behavioural Rating Inventory for Executive Functions (BRIEF2), the study found that a greater number n=78 (72%) of seventh graders exhibited good executive function skills and only a minority n= 30 (28%) had poor executive functions. On reading comprehension, the study found that a greater number n=47 (44%) of the seventh grader’s performance was average. however, this was not the expected result as only 16 (15%) performed above average and 45 (42%) performed below average. To establish the relationship between executive function and reading comprehension among seventh graders, correlation was performed on both objective and subjective measures of executive function skills. The results on objective measures of executive function skills indicate that there is statistically significant relationship between reading comprehension and the core executive function skills (p<0.001). On subjective measures of executive function, the study found a statistically significant relationship between reading comprehension and the core executive function skills. For instance, Inhibitory control (r = -0.21, p=0.03), Cognitive flexibility (r = -0.22, p=0.02), Working memory (r = -0.22, p=0.02). However, two other sub domains under subjective measures of executive function had a statistical significant relationship with reading comprehension as well (Task monitor (r = -0.19, p=0.05) and Organisation of materials (r = -0.25, p=0.01). A difference was noted with Self-monitor (r = -0.06, p=0.54), Emotional control (r = -0.03, p=0.72), Initiate (r = -0.18, p=0.07), Plan and organise (r = -0.18, p=0.06) which indicated no statistically significant relationship with reading comprehension. Based on the aforementioned findings, the study recommends that Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) should make school curriculum responsive enough to accommodate and promote early stimulation of executive function skills among primary school children. Schools should adopt and prepare lessons tailored to measure the constructs of executive function skills. There is need for schools to create reading material banks within classrooms for easy accessibility in order to promote and enhance reading culture among primary school children. Keywords: Executive Function, Working Memory, Inhibitory Control, Cognitive Flexibility and Reading Comprehension.
The University of Zambia
Executive ability in children.
Reading comprehension--Ability testing.
- Education