Frequently Asked Questions about EF Skills, Productivity, and Well Being

Executive Function (EF) skills are a set of modifiable brain-based skills that we use to control our attention when solving problems. They include working memory (keeping information in mind), inhibitory control (staying focused and resisting impulsive behavior), and cognitive flexibility (thinking about something in multiple ways). These skills work together – like the instruments in an orchestra – to make it possible to keep our goals in mind, avoid distractions, and be flexible, at work and in life. Typically, EF skills peak in early adulthood and then begin to decline, but they can be improved through awareness and practice, or negatively impacted by stress, at any age.

EF skills are needed whenever you are solving a new problem, whether it is a work task (e.g., How should we introduce our new product?), intra-personal (e.g., How can I get more work done after the lunch hour?) or interpersonal (e.g., How can my co-worker and I come to an agreement on the best strategy?). Therefore, they play an important role in employee productivity, effective teamwork, and job satisfaction. Without these skills, individuals, units, and entire organizations fail. In fact, EF skills may be even more important than intelligence, education, or training for achievement and success. In other words, it’s not so much what you know that matters, it’s whether you can actually use your knowledge in the moment to achieve your goals. Fortunately, research shows clearly that EF skills can be strengthened using relatively simple strategies and exercises.

Given the importance of EF skills for work and life, we can help improve employees’ performance and satisfaction by first making them aware of their EF level and then providing suggestions for strengthening their skills.

We can measure EF skills quickly and reliably using a game-like app called Reflect/EF, which was developed by scientists at the University of Minnesota (who are co-founders to Reflective Performance, Inc.). The Reflect/EF App is built off of existing technology used to measure and improve Executive Function in children, called the MEFS App™. MEFS has been utilized over 100,000 times and has been normed based on over 1,800 adults in the U.S.
Reflect/EF typically takes 3-5 minutes to administer. The app is computer-adaptive, and programmed to figure out the limits of a person’s performance quickly (in most cases, only 2-3 levels need to be administered).
Yes. Re-test reliability is consistently very high (greater than .80). That means that, apart from genuine improvements in a person’s EF skills brought about by EF skills training, a person typically receives the same score on the test when tested again after days, weeks, or months.
Yes. Reflect/EF has been validated as a robust measure of Executive Function Skills. Reflect/EF is highly correlated with other full-length batteries of Executive Function, and Reflect/EF scores predict important outcomes, such as academic achievement and social skills. In the workforce, pilot studies have shown it predicts hiring, tardiness, and absenteeism.
Yes. Reflect/EF is currently offered in the following 14 languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, German (Swiss), Swedish, Somali, Hmong, French, Arabic, Turkish, Welsh, Cantonese and Vietnamese.
Yes, the app does require that your computer or laptop has an internet connection.
Reflect/EF is designed for use across a wide range of ability levels, from very low to very high. Employees must understand the language Reflect/EF is administered in, and have normal or corrected to normal vision and hearing.
The colors have been chosen to be discriminable for most forms of color blindness.
Yes. Reflect/EF has been used successfully with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds.
No, instructions can be read or listened to.
Yes. Reflect/EF is designed to be administered individually or in groups.
At this time, Reflect/EF is available using a web browser with the recommended screen size no greater than 15”.
No. Reflect/EFis not intended to be a diagnostic tool, although it provides reliable and valid information about a person’s current level of proficiency and growth in Executive Function. A person’s information can be compared to national norms and to performance by various groups (e.g., employees within an organization).
No. There has been no evidence of practice effects when Reflect/EF is re-administered (different forms) the same day, after several days, or after two weeks (without EF training).
For greater security, data are not stored on the device used to administer the Reflect/EF test. Instead, data can be accessed by the organization’s System Admin going to admin.reflectiveperformanceinc.com and entering the login information. From our admin portal, they can download Individual and Group Reports and see various representations of the organization’s data.
Any information about you will be kept confidential using current data privacy standards. Data are stored anonymously, and only your organization will know the link between you and your data.

Only de-identified data are used by Reflective Performance, and these data are only used to develop norms that can be tailored to each organization or job level and to help us figure out how we can best work with organizations to strengthen their employees’ EF skills and unlock their problem-solving potential. Reflective Performance researchers can analyze the Reflect/EF results across the organization and correlate them with other de-identified information provided by the organization, such as job placement, employee type, position, etc. In the future, Reflective Performance intends to utilize larger de-identified data sets collected across all adult assessments to provide aggregate norms or benchmarks across industries, geographies, market segments and employee types, which will help customers identify their performance vs. their peers or competitors.


Find Out How EF Testing Can Benefit Your Organization.