Executive control in dual language learning preschoolers: The association between Hot and cool executive control and science achievement

Elizabeth M. Frechette, Brooke M. Rumper, Daryl B. Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The number of Dual Language Learners (DLLs) in the United States is rapidly increasing, with over 25% of the preschoolers speaking a language other than English at home leading to a need to examine skills that contribute to their achievement. Executive Control (EC), or the ability to regulate attention, affect, and behavior effectively, is one skill that is particularly important for preschool children to develop. EC has been examined for monolingual children as a single construct, and as two related constructs, Cool Executive Control (CEC) and Hot Executive Control (HEC), and is associated with later academic outcomes. The purpose of this study was to extend the EC research to DLL preschoolers, determine if EC is a one or two factor construct in a sample of DLLs, and examine if the construct relates to DLL children's science achievement. Structural equation modeling was used with a sample of 181 DLL children enrolled in Head Start. In line with previous research on monolingual Head Start children, EC emerged as two distinct latent factors, CEC and HEC. This study also examined the association between concurrent CEC, HEC, and science achievement. CEC was positively associated with DLLs’ science achievement, whereas HEC was not. These findings stress the importance of measuring the two dimensions of DLLs’ EC separately as they differentially relate to science achievement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Volume55
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

Keywords

  • Dual language learners
  • Executive control
  • Low-income
  • Preschool
  • Science
  • Self-Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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