The Contributions of Cognitive Abilities to the Relationship Between Inattention and Academic Achievement
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The main objective of this study was to examine whether increased levels of inattentive and hyperactive behaviours were associated with lower scores on standardized tests of achievement in basic reading, spelling, and math skills, after accounting for certain known background risk factors and cognitive processes. Clinical assessment data from a rigorously diagnosed, stimulant medication naïve sample of 354 elementary school-aged children experiencing academic difficulties and behavioural symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity were analyzed. It was expected that higher scores of inattention, not hyperactivity/impulsivity, would be associated with lower scores in basic reading, spelling, and math skills, and that these associations would persist after accounting for known background risk factors and cognitive processing variables. Results indicated that, although higher levels of inattention were significantly associated with lower scores in basic reading, spelling, and math scores, these associations did not persist after accounting for cognitive processes. Important factors for school psychologists to consider when conducting assessments, providing recommendations, and determining interventions for students with academic difficulties and perceived parent- and/or teacher-rated inattention are discussed.
Academic achievement, inattention, cognitive ability