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How do executive functions fit with the Cattell–Horn–Carroll model? Some evidence from a joint factor analysis of the Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System and the Woodcock–Johnson III tests of cognitive abilities


  • The Woodcock–Muñoz Foundation provided financial support for the study. The opinions expressed in this manuscript do not necessarily reflect those of the Woodcock–Muñoz Foundation.

    We are thankful for Dr. Susan Copeland, The University of Memphis Campus School, and other participating schools for allowing access to participants. We also thank Jillayne Bose-Deakins, Miriam Hancock, Jane Harland, Heather Hill, Tina Hutchison, Amanda Johnson, Allison Margulies, Connie Mazza, Angela Redwine, Samantha Shockley, Lisa Smith, Andrea Starkey, Kevin Steelman, Kimberly Sumara, Michael Wood, and Amy Yerka, who served as test examiners and Maria Haley Leforgee, who providing training for test examiners. Appreciation also goes to Kevin McGrew for a conversation about the nature of executive functions.

    Portions of this research were presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists (2005).


This study investigated the relations among executive functions and cognitive abilities through a joint exploratory factor analysis and joint confirmatory factor analysis of 25 test scores from the Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System and the Woodcock–Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities. Participants were 100 children and adolescents recruited from general education classrooms. Principal axis factoring followed by an oblique rotation yielded a six-factor solution. The Schmid–Leiman transformation was then used to examine the relations between specific cognitive ability factors and a general factor. A variety of hypothesis-driven models were also tested using confirmatory factor analysis. Results indicated that all tests measure the general factor, and 24 tests measure at least one of five broad cognitive ability factors outlined by the Cattell–Horn–Carroll theory of cognitive abilities. These results, with limitations considered, add to the body of evidence supporting the confluence of measures of executive functions and measures of cognitive abilities derived from individual testing. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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