Cognitive ability influences on written expression: Evidence for developmental and sex-based differences in school-age children Academic Article uri icon


  • Some studies have demonstrated that the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) cognitive abilities influence writing; however, little research has investigated whether CHC cognitive abilities influence writing the same way for males and females across grades. We used multiple group structural equation models to investigate whether CHC cognitive ability influences on written expression differed between grades or sex using the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition and the Kaufman Tests of Educational Achievement, Second Edition co-normed standardization sample data (N=2117). After testing for consistent measurement of cognitive abilities across grades and sex, we tested whether the cognitive ability influences on written expression were moderated by grade level or sex. An important developmental shift was observed equally across sex groups: Learning Efficiency (Gl) influences decreased whereas Crystallized Ability (Gc) influences increased after fourth grade. Further, Short-Term Memory (Gsm) and Retrieval Fluency (Gr) influences on written expression depended on sex at grades 14, with larger Gr influences for females and larger Gsm influences for males. We internally replicated our main findings using two different cognitive explanatory models, adding further support for the developmental and sex-based differential cognitive ability influences on writing. Explanatory cognitive models of writing need to incorporate development, and possibly, sex to provide an expanded understanding of writing development and guard against potential generalizability issues characteristic of special population (i.e., male-female) studies.

published proceedings

  • Journal of School Psychology

altmetric score

  • 3.45

author list (cited authors)

  • Hajovsky, D. B., Villeneuve, E. F., Reynolds, M. R., Niileksela, C. R., Mason, B. A., & Shudak, N. J.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Hajovsky, DB||Villeneuve, EF||Reynolds, MR||Niileksela, CR||Mason, BA||Shudak, NJ

publication date

  • January 2018