Executive function tests: The power to predict ADHD? Validity of the NESPY Executive Function/Attention index

Date of Completion

January 2003


Education, Tests and Measurements|Biology, Neuroscience|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Psychometrics




Executive functions have been implicated in a range of disabilities including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, open research questions remain involving construct and discriminative validity including the predictive power of executive function tests. This study investigated the predictive power of the NEPSY Executive Function/Attention index for ADHD via Bayesian probabilities under a range of base rate conditions. Consistent with research involving the previous generations of executive function tests, the NEPSY exhibited generally insufficient predictive power for ADHD. Only the negative predictive power under the 5% base rate exceeded the 90% cutoff. While restraint is recommended in the application and interpretation of the NEPSY in school and clinic settings, it remains a valuable research tool and further investigation is warranted. ^