The Impact of Training Executive Functions on Academic Outcomes, self-regulation and socioaffective skills

Last registered on July 23, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Impact of Training Executive Functions on Academic Outcomes, self-regulation and socioaffective skills
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002787
Initial registration date
April 13, 2018
Last updated
July 23, 2021, 12:08 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Inra and Toulouse School of Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
CNRS and Institute for Advanced Study of Toulouse

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2017-01-02
End date
2018-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Executive functions such as working memory, self-regulation, inhibitory control, are mental processes that enable the voluntary control of actions, thoughts and emotions. Executive functions play a key role in academic learning, as early as preschool. There exist stark inequalities in the distribution of executive functions at school entry, especially between children from different socio-economic background. This experiment aims at training executive functions in pre-schoolers by providing them with several sessions of pretend-play activities in small groups. Pretend-play activities are extracted from the Tools of the Mind curriculum. The experiment aims at measuring the short run impact of pretend-play activities on brain functioning, executive functions, child' s self-regulation, socio-affective skills and academic outcomes. The experiment uses a pairwise randomized controlled trial on a target on 70 children with a pre-post design if possible and a post design when not enough pre and post outcomes are available.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Chabé-Ferret, Sylvain and Chloé Farrer. 2021. "The Impact of Training Executive Functions on Academic Outcomes, self-regulation and socioaffective skills." AEA RCT Registry. July 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2787-2.1
Former Citation
Chabé-Ferret, Sylvain, Sylvain Chabé-Ferret and Chloé Farrer. 2021. "The Impact of Training Executive Functions on Academic Outcomes, self-regulation and socioaffective skills." AEA RCT Registry. July 23. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2787/history/96469
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Sessions of pretend play for preschool children in order to develop their executive functions and their socio-emotional skills.
Intervention Start Date
2017-02-15
Intervention End Date
2017-06-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1/ Executive functions
1.1/ Heart/flower task (Davidson et al., 2006) (percent of correct answers and time to answer)

2/ Academic outcomes
2.1/ Peabody Picture Vocabulary Scale (EVIP) (Dunn et al., 1993)

3/ Socio-emotional skills
3.1/ Socio affective profile (PSA) (Dumas et al., 1997)
3.2/ BRIEF: self-regulation scores computed from parents' questionnaires (Gioia et al., 2014)
3.3/ Head to Toes task, self-regulation score (Duncan, 2017)

4/ Other
4.1/ RAVEN matrices (Raven, 1998)
4.2/ EEG (theta power, theta coherence )
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Parwise randomized controlled trial at the child level.
Children, aged from 4 to 6, come from 4 classes located in two schools.
Experimental Design Details
Parwise randomized controlled trial at the child level.
Children, aged from 4 to 6, come from 4 classes located in two schools.
Pairs were formed by minimizing the total sum of a Mahalanobis distance between children from the same class and the same EEG category (yes or no).
Mahalanobis distance was computed using zEVIP, zCPM and zdots scores.
Optimal pairs were computed using a non directed search algorithm sampling randomly pairs within strata and looking for the minimum distance.
Randomization Method
Computer.
Randomization Unit
Child
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
70 children
Sample size: planned number of observations
70 children
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
35 children
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Standard errors of the treatment effect estimator including pair fixed effects are of 0.122, 0.150 and 0.187, respectively, which implies a MDE (for one-sided t-test of size 5% and power 80%) of 0.303, 0.373 and 0.465 respectively. All variables are centered and standardized, so that MDEs are in units of standard deviation.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
June 30, 2017, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
June 30, 2017, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
66 children
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
66 children (52 for most outcomes)
Attrition is well-controlled since the pair is dropped when one element is missing.
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
33 children treated and 33 controls
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

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Program Files

Program Files
No
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials

Description
We find clear impacts of the intervention on the maturity of play, but we fail to detect impacts on the main outcomes.
Citation
Chabe-Ferret, Sylvain, and Chloe Farrer. "Analysis of the Trainex Experiment," July 02, 2018.