How long does the Minnesota EF Scale take?

Administration time is usually 3-6 minutes. The scale is computer-adaptive, and programmed to figure out the limits of a child’s performance quickly (for most children, only 2-3 levels need to be administered).

Is the Minnesota EF Scale reliable?

Yes. Re-test reliability is consistently very high (greater than .90).

Is the Minnesota EF Scale valid?

Yes. The MEFS has been validated as a robust measure of age-related changes in EF in young children, highly correlated with full-length batteries of EF, predictive of kindergarten readiness measures of math and literacy (independent of IQ), and children known to have EF impairments perform more poorly on the MEFS. (See technical report for details.)

Does it produce separate scores for working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility?

No. The MEFS was designed to provide a brief, comprehensive assessment of emerging EF skills. There is a large body of data showing that EF is a unitary construct in early childhood.

Is it available in Spanish?

Yes. It is currently available in English, Spanish, Dutch, German (Swiss), Swedish, Mandarin Chinese, and Somali. Please contact Reflection Sciences to request additional language versions.

Does the tool work well in school/institutional and home settings?

Yes. The MEFS is portable and brief, which is important for field settings.

Is the Minnesota EF Scale suitable for children from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds?

Yes. The MEFS has been used successfully with children from a wide range of backgrounds, from very disadvantaged (homeless) to very privileged. The items have been chosen to be familiar and engaging for most children.

If the examiner makes a mistake, or if there is an interruption, can she start over?

Yes. There is a “home” button to start over.

Can the Minnesota EF Scale be administered to multiple children simultaneously?

The MEFS Early Childhood version is designed to be administered individually to ensure that young children are fully attentive and that the results give an accurate portrayal of their EF skills.

Can all children be assessed on the Minnesota EF Scale?

The MEFS is designed for use across a wide range of ability levels, from very low to very high, but children must understand the language of testing, and have normal or corrected to normal vision and hearing. They must also be able to interact with a tablet touchscreen.

What if a child is unfamiliar with touchscreen tablets?

Children as young as 2 years of age find the tablet very engaging and catch on quickly to “touch” and “drag” features. Practice trials are included to give children a chance to learn how to drag the images. For novices, we suggest warming up with a game that involves dragging, such as, “Where’s My Water?”

Does a child need to be able to read to be given this assessment?

No.

What age children can the Minnesota EF scale be used with?

The Early Childhood version of the MEFS is designed to sensitively capture EF skills in children between the ages of 2 and 7 years. It can be used with very low functioning and very high functioning children within this age range. Versions for older children and adults are continuous with this version, with modifications to the presentation.

Can scores on the Minnesota EF Scale be used to diagnose clinical conditions (e.g., ADHD, LD)?

No. The MEFS is not intended to be a diagnostic tool, although it provides reliable and valid information about a child’s current level of proficiency and growth in EF relative to norms and instructional goals, including state standards.

Are there gender differences in performance?

No.

Is the Minnesota EF Scale a kindergarten screening tool?

Yes, the MEFS can be used to detect EF difficulties in rising kindergartners, however, it is not just a screener. It is sensitive to individual differences and growth in normative and high-functioning children, and thus also can be used as a formative assessment in combination with EF-focused activities.

How much does it cost?

Costs reflect training, access to the software, and reporting. Organization subscription rates vary, e.g., depending on the number of children to be included.

Are there practice effects on the Minnesota EF Scale?

No. There has been no evidence of practice effects when the MEFS is re-administered (different forms) the same day, after several days, or after two weeks.

Is there an effect of repeated testing once children become familiar with the colors and shapes?

It is not possible to "memorize" answers. Nonetheless, we recommend using alternate forms of the scale (with different combinations of shapes and colors) when re-administering the EF Scale to the same child.

What if a child is colorblind?

The colors have been chosen to be discriminable for most forms of color blindness.

Will young children be familiar with the shapes and colors used in the Minnesota EF Scale?

Most likely, yes. All items were chosen based on research showing which words for colors and animals children typically learn first. All images and colors are labeled by the Examiner.

How much training is required to administer the Minnesota EF Scale?

A strong training program ensures that your data and the norms are valid. Brief in-person or webinar training is followed by personal practice and web-based certification, totaling approximately 3 hours of time.

What are the differences between MEFS and the NIH Toolbox EF Developmental Extension?

The same researchers who developed the Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS) also helped develop the NIH Toolbox measures of EF, which were designed for research and clinical purposes only. It can be confusing because both tools are now available on the App Store, and both have costs associated with them. See the Educator Resources page for a table that identifies the key differences.

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