Executive Function and Academic Skills in First Grade: Evidence for a Male Advantage in Patterning
Ally Patterson, Allison Bock, Robert Pasnak

Children’s abilities to recognize and manipulate patterns have been linked to executive function and reading skills. The literature on sex differences related to these skills is inconsistent, with some studies demonstrating an advantage for young females in inhibition, working memory, and reading comprehension. The present study sought to identify any sex differences in patterning, as well as any sex differences in the relationships between patterning, executive function skills, and reading ability. The present study found evidence for a male advantage in patterning, but did not find support for any sex differences in executive function or reading skills. Additionally, the present study found support for a relationship between cognitive flexibility and patterning that did not differ by sex. Overall, the present study contributes to a growing body of work on patterning, but is the first to identify a male advantage in this skill. In light of these findings, teachers and parents may choose to emphasize patterning instruction for female students in order to bridge the gap between boys’ and girls’ performance.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v4n4a8