Supporting Executive Functioning in the General Education Classroom to Increase Academic Achievement

Date of Award

Fall 12-7-2022

Document Type

Project Abstract (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Marci Glessner


Executive Functions, Supports, Deficits


Executive functioning skills are needed for navigating all tasks in life, whether academic, social or emotional in nature. They are what is behind a student’s ability to adapt and regulate their behavior and cognitive abilities in order to be successful in the classroom. In this project, the key functions within executive functioning (EF) that are discussed include cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control and working memory. Every student is different in the level of executive functioning skills (EFS) they hold and therefore their performance is affected in different ways. Research has shown that the lack of these skills in students is directly connected to lower levels of academic achievement and repeated academic difficulties as they continue on in school (Pascual et al., 2019; Keenan et al. 2019; Morgan et al., 2019).

Educators play a key role in developing and modeling executive functioning skills by providing an environment that supports students in growing. Educators’ awareness around executive functions have become key for producing students who are self-sufficient. Research has shown that if educators are provided with the “right” tools, they can create an environment that supports EFS and improve academic performance among students (Pascual et al., 2019; Keenan et al. 2019; Morgan et al., 2019). This project looked into the literature and the effects executive functioning deficits have on academic achievement. It highlights the need for best practices educators can utilize in order to support these executive functioning deficits within the general education setting among students with and without disabilities. The Literature within this review was used to construct a website (https://sites.google.com/d.umn.edu/efs-in-the-classroom) that can be used by all educators to learn more about executive functions and how to best support them in the classroom.