Besides having content knowledge to be successful at school, pupils also need to know how to do something more effectively. Executive functions linked to upbringing and education refer to the way pupils think and learn. The problems in executive functions can appear in both pupils with deficits in individual learning areas as well as in pupils, where distinctive learning deficits are not noticed. Due to the connection of executive functions with other fields, crucial for school work, the identification of problems and working in the field of executive functions is important.
The main goal of this master’s thesis was to examine the current situation in the field of executive functions in pupils between the fourth and ninth year of primary school and to find the differences between pupils without deficits and with deficits in individual learning areas.
The information was gathered using an inquiry regarding executive functions at two levels – for pupils (Executive Skills Questionnaire for Students; Dawson and Guare, 2012, p. 176−177) and for teachers (Executive Skills Questionnaire for Teachers). A descriptive and causal non-experimental method of research and quantitative research approach was used. The research was made using a sample of pupils between the fourth and ninth year (N = 344) and a subsample (N = 20) regarding ten equivalent pairs in the class, where each pair was composed of a pupil with deficits in individual learning areas and his classmate without deficits in individual learning areas. Each pupil in the subsample was evaluated in the field of executive functions by two teachers (N = 20) and the pupil himself.
The results show that pupils have certain problems with executive functions. Significant differences are shown regarding age and educational period, where younger pupils self-evaluate themselves higher than older pupils. In some areas of executive functions, boys self-evaluated themselves significantly lower than girls. Pupils with higher academic success are better in most areas of executive functions. Pupils who attend classes of additional help self-evaluate themselves lower in some areas than other pupils. Pupils who attend remedial classes self-evaluate themselves even lower. Pupils who were recognised as “gifted” self-evaluate themselves statistically significantly higher than other pupils in the field of metacognition. Pupils with deficits in individual learning areas are shown a bit weaker in the areas of executive functioning, where the differences are statistically significant only in a few areas. When comparing the pupil’s self-evaluation with the teacher’s evaluation regarding the functioning of the pupil, we can see that in pupils with deficits in individual learning areas as well with pupils without deficits in individual learning areas the assessments match in most of the areas.