Measuring goal setting in school-aged children: Studying the effects of demographic variables in regression-based norms

Annet Toornstra*, Petra P. M. Hurks, Wim Van der Elst, Karlijn Massar, Gerjo Kok, Leopold M. G. Curfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of the study was to establish demographically representative norms for tasks measuring goal setting, and more specifically planning and reasoning in children. Three tasks were administered to n = 195 Ukrainian children aged 5.10 to 14.5 years old: the Spatial Working Memory (SWM), the Stockings of Cambridge (SOC) test, and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT). Main outcome per test was accuracy: i.e., the total number correct for the SOC and NNAT, and the total amount of incorrect responses for the SWM. Correlations among accuracy measures varied from − 0.51 to 0.60, indicating these tasks measure related but at the same time unique constructs. Higher age was associated with more accurate test performances on all outcome measures. On the NNAT, we found a curvilinear association between age and accuracy, indicating that younger children’s NNAT accuracy scores increased more with age compared with older children. We found a cubic age effect on accuracy for the SWM and SOC: i.e., test scores were relatively stable at younger and older ages, with a curvilinear increase in test scores in the other age groups. Demographically corrected norms were calculated and presented per test. These indicated that sex was not associated with accuracy scores on any of the tests. Last, a higher level of parental education (LPE) was associated with higher accuracy scores, but only on the NNAT. We conclude that demographic variables in norm analyses enhance insight in the scores and allow for application in clinical settings and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96–110
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Pediatric Neuropsychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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