Unstructured Performance Task to Assess Executive Functions: A Study in Typically-Developing Children
Wanstall, Elizabeth Arden
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A weak concordance between performance-based measures and behavioural ratings of executive functions (EF) has been well-documented in children with and without neurodevelopmental conditions. Performance-based EF measures are administered under highly structured conditions and may not reflect childrens performance in everyday environments where less guidance may be provided. The Unstructured Performance Task (UPT) is a novel performance-based EF task designed to include 42 easy problems that are randomly placed on a large sheet of paper (11 x 17) and are administered with minimal direction and external monitoring. The psychometric properties and correlates of the UPT and the UPT-2 (i.e., an updated version of the UPT) were investigated in this study. The UPT was found to have good psychometric properties and scores were significantly related to childrens academic abilities. The UPT-2 was then examined in a subsample of the original community sample of children plus a sample of new participants. The UPT-2 generated greater variability in scores and demonstrated improved psychometric properties. The UPT-2 was also found to be significantly related to performance-based tasks of EF and academic abilities. Overall, results indicate that the UPT/UPT-2 is a promising measure of EF performance in children.