Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Motor skills
Executive functions
Academic achievement
Early childhood
Issue Date: 
Khng, K. H., & Ng, E. L. (2021). Fine motor and executive functioning skills predict maths and spelling skills at the start of kindergarten: A compensatory account. Journal for the Study of Education and Development. Advance online publication.
Research shows that executive functions (EF) and fine motor skills (FMS) contribute to early academic skills, possibly in overlapping ways. We examine whether and how EF and FMS interact in the concurrent prediction of maths, reading and spelling skills at the start of kindergarten. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) on data from 1248 five-year-olds supports a compensatory account of EF and FMS in contributing towards maths and spelling skills. Controlling for socio-economic status, age, time spent in kindergarten and intelligence, the influence of EF on spelling achievement was larger for children with poorer compared to better FMS, and vice versa; FMS significantly predicted maths achievement only in children with high but not low EF, and vice versa. Identifying EF or FMS difficulties at or before the start of kindergarten may be important. Different approaches to intervention involving EF and FMS may be appropriate for maths versus spelling skills. We suggest for early childhood curricula to enhance opportunities for FMS development, especially for children who enter kindergarten with poor FMS.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Journal for the Study of Education and Development. The published version is available online at
0210-3702 (print)
1578-4126 (online)
Project number: 
OER 09/14 RB
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
File Permission: 
File Availability: 
With file
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
  Until 2022-12-01
912.29 kBAdobe PDFUnder embargo until Dec 01, 2022
Show full item record

Page view(s) 50

checked on Nov 24, 2022


checked on Nov 24, 2022

Google ScholarTM



Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.