Measuring Executive Function
and School Readiness

Using the MEFS App as a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

Pre-K educators and institutions have an important job to do: preparing students for school readiness. Educators interested in learning more about the role of Executive Function in this process can arrange for professional development through Reflection Sciences. The courses help educators understand the Executive Function skills that impact school readiness. Distinct from IQ, Executive Function skills can be taught and learned. These skills are vital for success in today’s academic environment and are better predictors of academic success than IQ. The MEFS app can be used as a Kindergarten readiness assessment helping educators measure their students, track the individual development of their Executive Function skills, and evaluate the effects of interventions and curricula.

How Does the MEFS App™ Help in the Classroom?

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Pre-screening helps determine who can benefit most from Executive Function guidance
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Measuring Executive Function over time shows efficacy of teaching and curriculum
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Quick feedback provides data on efficacy of interventions
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Early intervention is critical to help prevent children from falling behind

Teacher Reports

Teachers report that the most important determinant of children’s school readiness and success in kindergarten is how well they can sit still, pay attention, and follow rules—key Executive Function skills.

Executive Function skills can be assessed objectively and reliably using the MEFS App, a Kindergarten readiness assessment, whereas teacher reports are often subject to bias, such as “halo” effects, where a teacher’s feelings for a child may bias their assessment of the child’s behavior. In addition, unlike teacher reports, which are time consuming and require teachers to observe their students for weeks or months, Executive Function skills can be assessed quickly (~4 min) and at any time – event prior to school entry – using the MEFS App.

Effectively Measure School Readiness

The MEFS App, a Kindergarten readiness assessment, provides a brief, reliable, valid, inexpensive, and easily administered direct behavioral measure of Executive Function skills starting at age 2. Educators can easily identify a child’s level of school readiness or need for additional supports. The MEFS App also allows educators to track a child’s development of Executive Function skills and evaluate the effects of interventions. You get instant, easy-to-understand results.

Educator Spotlight

Dr Alun FlynnDr. Alun Flynn
Principal Educational Psychologist, Powys, Wales, UK. Registered as a practitioner psychologist with the UK Health and Care Professions Council

Q: What is your passion?
A: My team of Educational Psychologists, assistants, and trainees aspire to improve outcomes for all children, especially those with additional needs or vulnerabilities. We all love working directly with or for children, which often involves working with parents. Powys is a large, rural county in mid-Wales. We are local government employees and have a statutory role in helping the local authority deliver its responsibilities for children with special educational needs.

Q: What is your organization’s mission or goal?
A: To use our knowledge of Psychology to:

  • Ensure each child’s special education needs are accurately described and understood; through quality consultation and assessment.
  • Help identify appropriate interventions to meet those needs and build on strengths.
  • Provide training to develop capacity in schools and with parents.
  • Apply evidence-based research and carry out appropriate research whenever possible.

Q: Why the MEFS App?
A: I have been using the MEFS App since September 2018 in casework. I hope to maintain quality assessment practice, and increasingly be in a position to enable other Psychologists and teachers. I chose the MEFS App because:

  • EF assessment should be holistic and as person-centered as possible
  • Observation, discussion, and scoring checklists help build up a profile of EF; but direct assessment reduces bias and adds to the richness of the overall assessment
  • The MEFS App is excellent in terms of child friendliness, accessibility, and technical quality
  • The MEFS App was developed by leading academics at the University of Minnesota who have added considerably to our knowledge on the educational implications of EF
  • The MEFS App can be used to monitor and evaluate interventions

Pre-K Educator Resources

Looking to communicate what executive function is to your students’ parents? Feel free to share our executive function handout!

Download them here:
Executive Function Handout [English]
Executive Function Handout [Spanish]

Executive Function skills are proven to predict important developmental outcomes, including school readiness, social functioning, mental and physical health, and academic achievement. How do these skills develop from infancy to school-age years?

Download this resource here:
Executive Function: Ages and Stages [English]
Executive Function: Ages and Stages [Spanish]

The Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS App) is a brief, tablet-based comprehensive measure of executive function skills that is nationally normed down to 2 years of age. Reflection Sciences introduced the MEFS assessment to a consortium of independent schools to be used during the admissions process.

Download the Case Study to see the outcomes.

Read our Comparative Article to see how the MEFS App compares to other measures of executive function.

Real World Reviews

“Kinderberry Hill has closely monitored research on Executive Function. We knew we wanted to be able to assess how our children are doing in this crucial area. We were excited to learn of the ground-breaking tools being developed by Reflection Sciences and are thrilled to partner with them.”

Sara Reichstadt, Education Coordinator of Kinderberry Hill

Understand, Measure, & Improve the true predictor of academic and life success.