Weekly Calendar Planning Activity (WCPA): A Performance-Based Assessment of Executive Function Piloted With At-Risk Adolescents

Nikki Williamson Weiner, OTD, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, CarePartners Health Services and Carolina Pediatric Therapy, Asheville, NC.
The American journal of occupational therapy : official publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association 11/2012; 66(6):699-708. DOI: 10.5014/ajot.2012.004754
Source: PubMed


We piloted the Weekly Calendar Planning Activity (WCPA), a performance-based measure of executive function (EF), to establish a baseline for at-risk adolescents.

Participants were 113 youths ages 16-21 who were enrolled at a charter school for youth returning to high school after dropping out. We administered the WCPA and collected demographic information.

On average, participants spent 15.9 min on the WCPA, made 7.9 errors, and followed 4.0 of 5 possible rules. No ceiling effect was observed in overall accuracy. Participants used a mean of 3.1 strategies (standard deviation = 1.9) while completing the WCPA. Participants who used more strategies spent more time planning and completing the task and were more accurate.

The WCPA may be useful to occupational therapists as a performance measure of EF. This assessment allows evaluation of complex task performance, strategy use, self-evaluation of performance, and error patterns, which can be used in developing intervention strategies.

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    • "Regardless of the inability of experts to agree on an exact definition of executive function, individuals present to clinicians for help with EDF (Maeir et al., 2014; Miranda, Presentaci√≥n, Siegenthaler, & Jara, 2013; Williamson Weiner, Toglia, & Berg, 2012). A lack of specificity in the definition of executive function is of particular interest to occupational therapists since the deficits in daily performance are a cornerstone to the identification of EDF and effective treatment. "

    Preview · Article · Oct 2015
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    • "These findings suggest that the WCPA is suitable for adolescents and young adults as a performance-based assessment of EF (Toglia & Berg, 2013). Findings from the WCPA pilot study indicated that participants who performed better on the task used more strategies, took more time, followed more rules, and were more deliberate and accurate overall (Weiner et al., 2012). A version for students was developed and is reported in the current study. "
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    ABSTRACT: To introduce a revised version of the Weekly Calendar Planning Activity (WCPA) adapted for university students (Weekly Calendar Performance Activity for students [WCPA-S]) and compare the performance of this activity between students with and without ADHD and across gender groups. Participants included a total of 157 students, ages 20 to 30, enrolled in universities/colleges and divided into two groups: students with ADHD (male = 23, female = 38) and without ADHD (male = 33, female = 63). A two-way ANOVA was used for data analyses. The WCPA-S was administered to each student individually. Significant differences were found between students with and without ADHD and across genders in performance, duration of performance, and in the number of strategies used. The WCPA-S proved to be an effective performance-based diagnostic tool for the utilization of executive functions in the daily life of university students. This instrument can be used to predict success in higher education and to support learning among university students with ADHD. © 2015 SAGE Publications.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Attention Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: We reviewed 12 articles from 2012 that addressed development and testing of instruments for children and youths and American Journal of Occupational Therapy articles from 2009-2013 that addressed 11 activity and participation instruments to determine how well this group of instruments facilitates the generation of evidence sufficient to support practice in accordance with the Centennial Vision. We observed an increase in the number of instrument development and testing studies and in higher level studies and larger cohorts; funding was provided for almost half of the studies, and attention was given to use of blind testing and transition to adult-age assessments. Further development of performance-based activity and participation instruments; instruments that examine biomedical molecular-cellular, biomedical, and environmental mechanisms; and intervention fidelity measures and increased use of blind testing are necessary for occupational therapy to meet the Centennial Vision.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013
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