A rapidly expanding body of literature highlights the importance of executive function (EF) and regulation-related skills for the positive development of children and youth. EF and related skills have been linked to outcomes such as school readiness, academic achievement, and mental health (Blair & Razza, 2007; Eisenberg et al, 2004; McClelland et al, 2007). In particular, the ability to use self-control strategies during early childhood predicts long-term outcomes including SAT scores, high school graduation and retention, juvenile delinquency, and adult income and savings-related behavior (Mischel, et al, 1988; Moffit et al, 2011). These findings have generated many new efforts to design programs and policies that build EF and related skills in the early childhood years, especially among low-income children.
However, there is little consensus on how to define, promote, or measure EF, and researchers and practitioners use a variety of terms interchangeably (e.g., cognitive control, emotion and behavior regulation, grit, self-discipline). With funding from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) under the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), this project aims to create a framework and "map" of the various terms and skills often included in this domain, and to generate a set of tools to help support accurate communication and translation of EF-related research in applied contexts.