Executive Function + STEM

Why EF + STEM?

TERC is looking closely at the intersection of EF + STEM. Why? Because EF (Executive Function, the attention-regulation processes involved in goal-directed problem solving) is a critical foundation for engagement in STEM, and STEM has the potential to benefit children’s EF development. Our goal is to look at EF+STEM through the lenses of both neurodiversity and social equity.

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Projects and Other Work at TERC related to EF + STEM

Watch Jodi Asbell-Clarke’s TedXYouth Talk

On 4 November 2017, TERC’s Jodi Asbell-Clarke spoke on TedXBeaconSt about unleashing the potential of all learners, with the talk We Know More Than We Can Tell.



INFACT (Including Neurodiversity in Foundational and Applied Computational Thinking)


EdGE at TERC is working with a team of leading researchers and practitioners to design, develop, and implement an inclusive program for computational thinking in grades 3-8. INFACT will embed attention, metacognition, and social-emotional learning supports, customizable for the strengths and struggles of each unique learner.


LEAP 4 (Building a Grades K-2 Early Algebra Learning Progression Prototype for Diverse Populations)

Leap Logo-1-1LEAP 4 focuses on the design of a Grades K–2 Early Algebra Learning Progression (EALP) that is responsive to culturally and linguistically diverse learners with exceptionalities, including learners with identified mathematics difficulties. This focus on a diverse population of learners promises to increase the generalizability of the EALP to wider-ranging populations.



EF+STEM Information and Resources

A working group at TERC is exploring various aspects of EF, especially as they relate to STEM learning, our projects, and our vision of a future in which learners from diverse communities engage in creative, rigorous, and reflective inquiry as an integral part of their lives.

As part of this, we’ve assembled a set of basic information and resources (PDF). This is a living document, continually edited and updated.


Publications by TERC Staff

Begolli, Kreshnik & Richland, Lindsey & Jaeggi, Susanne & Lyons, Emily & Wallace, Ellen & Matlen, Bryan. (2018). Executive Function in Learning Mathematics by Comparing Representations: Incorporating Everyday Classrooms into the Science of Learning. Thinking and Reasoning. 10.1080/13546783.2018.1429306. 

Lyons, E.M., Simms, N., Begolli, K.N., & Richland, L.E. (2018). Stereotype Threat Effects on Learning From a Cognitively Demanding Mathematics Lesson. Cognitive science, 42 2, 678-690.


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