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Classroom Research: A SMARTS Pilot Study

When it comes to teaching executive function strategies, research has demonstrated that explicit, systematic, structured, and scaffolded approaches yield the greatest results. It is also important to consider that each teaching environment presents its own factors that influence learning.

Action Research: In the Classroom

Two teachers in Slovakia took matters into their own hands and carried out a review of their students’ metacognitive abilities pre- and post-SMARTS intervention. We’ll highlight their major findings in this post, and we encourage you to read their full report.

The authors of the article, Iveta Kovalčíková and Ivana Martinková, completed SMARTS training before embarking on this pilot study. The question that guided their research was: What is the impact of intervention through the metacognitive program SMARTS on selected metacognitive abilities (organizing and prioritizing) of examined pupils?

Research Overview

Kovalčíková and Martinková applied a number of SMARTS curriculum lessons (adapted to the Slovak curricular context) to stimulate their students’ abilities to organize and prioritize information:

  1. Purposeful Highlighting—highlighting to identify multiple perspectives when reading and taking notes
  2. Triple-Note-Tote—a three-column strategy for note-taking
  3. BOTEC—a strategy to help students organize and sort ideas (Brainstorming, Organizing, Topic sentences, Evidence and Conclusion)

Interventions lasting forty-five to sixty minutes were carried out in 25 sessions twice a week. The authors highlight case studies of two students, Emil and Vanda, who develop metacognitive skills and personalized strategies throughout the intervention.


Based on the outcomes obtained by observation and interviews, the impact of the intervention on the pupils’ metacognitive abilities can be assessed as positive.

We thank Iveta Kovalčíková and Ivana Martinková for sharing their study with us. SMARTS empowers students by helping them understand their strengths and weaknesses and teaching them critically important executive function strategies.

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

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36th Annual EF Conference Spotlight: SMARTS Strand Concurrent Speakers

This post is part of a series that highlights the events and speakers of this year’s 36th Annual Executive Function Conference, which will focus on promoting resilience and equity for ALL students.

At ResearchILD’s conference this November, you can learn practical strategies to bring into your classroom on Monday morning. SMARTS experts are offering three pre-recorded concurrent sessions that will be available starting on November 5. Conference attendees will have unlimited access to all concurrent sessions and the recordings of the live plenary sessions through January 31, 2022.

Concurrent Presentations: SMARTS Strand

Executive Function and Organization: Unlocking Students’ Ability to Stay Organized
Michael Greschler, Ed.M. and Shelly Levy, M.Ed., M.S.

Michael Greschler is the director of the SMARTS program for ResearchILD. Over the past 7 years, he has worked to develop and grow the SMARTS program, collaborating with teachers and administrators in schools and leading a nationwide pilot of SMARTS Online in its first year. Shelly Levy is the SMARTS curriculum coordinator, teacher trainer, and educational specialist at the Institutes of Learning and Development. She has over 25 years of experience in the field of Special Education. 

The session will emphasize practical classroom approaches that integrate strategy instruction and self-understanding into day-to-day classroom activities through the organization of materials and time management.

Flexible Thinking: Practical Strategies to Improve Academic Performance and Reduce Stress
Donna Kincaid, M.Ed.

Donna Kincaid, M.Ed., is the assistant director and director of outreach and training for ILD and ResearchILD. Donna holds certification in Elementary/Special Education K-9, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Supervisor/Director Certification in the area of Special Needs.

In this session, participants will learn about the importance of cognitive flexibility, one of the cornerstones of executive function, and its critical role in school performance, growth mindsets, and reduced stress in school and life. This session will also focus on evidence-based strategies for promoting students’ cognitive flexibility so that they learn to shift and think flexibly in academic and social situations. 

Self-Monitoring and Self-Regulation: From School to Home and Back
Mindy Scirri, Ph.D.

Mindy Scirri, Ph.D., is a learning (dis)ability specialist and consultant in private practice and former chair and professor of education. Dr. Scirri also homeschools her daughter and is a content writer for homeschooling curriculum and resource websites.

In this workshop, Dr. Scirri will explore how expectations impact self-monitoring and self-regulation, how different contexts affect these expectations, and how various executive function components play a role. Participants will learn strategies from the SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum, as well as other strength-based strategies, to help students build self-monitoring and self-regulation skills both at school and at home.

Learn More

You can learn more about the concurrent speakers and their work by attending ResearchILD’s 36th Annual Executive Function Conference on November 11th and 12th. 

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

The Institute for Learning and Development: