Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert DiTomasso

First Advisor

Bruce Zahn

Second Advisor

George McCloskey

Third Advisor

Karen Donahue


Current research is largely lacking in the areas of math, math learning deficits, and math-specific interventions. Even less available is research and interventions specific to high school learners. Some research addresses these areas with a specific focus on executive functions and how they may relate to student learning and performance. The present study sought to determine the relationship between three specific executive functions, Shift, Inhibit, and Working Memory, on learning and performance in math. Other executive functions, as measured by BRIEF rating scales and including Planning and Organization, Initiate, and Monitor, were also reviewed. Results of the present study found no relationship between Shift and Inhibit with learning and performance measures (e.g., homework completion, test/quiz grades) and a relationship between Working Memory and learning and performance measures (i.e., homework completion). A relationship was also found between Initiation, Planning and Organization, and Working Memory as having a relationship with student learning and performance. Based on these findings, future studies should look specifically at what learning behaviors and skills students demonstrate that lead to adequate math performance and how these skills relate to executive functions. Essentially, starting with relating basic math behaviors and skills (e.g., math fluency or algebra skills) to academic performance (e.g., test grades, homework completion, standardized test results) in math and then relating these results to measurable executive functions, which may be an indicator of how one learns math. This information would help demonstrate how actual skills translate to student performance and achievement and could then be related to the learning of math in a classroom, which tends to tax executive skills. This information would be helpful to support student iv learning and allow for the development of appropriate and effective interventions that meet the needs of students struggling to keep up with grade level academic materials.

Included in

Psychology Commons