What is Task Persistence in Children?

By Dr. Randy Kulman on Monday, October 12, 2015

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What is Task Persistence in children? Task Persistence is a skill that is important for children throughout development in school, as well as in personal endeavors. Difficulties with task persistence, or perseverance, are often evidenced by a child who seems to give up easily if a task appears to be new or difficult.

Although children and adolescents that struggle with this skills may have some difficulty seeing a task to completion, this does not mean that they necessarily lack the skills necessary to actually complete the task when encouraged. For example, a child who has a hard time getting himself to start cleaning his room and finish this task in a timely manner may do a great job organizing his belongings, even though it requires prompting and reinforcements to get him to this point.

At school, an individual who has difficulty with task  persistence may appear to lack motivation to do his or her schoolwork or homework. A student who specifically struggles with persistence may appear to be overly hard on him or herself, believing that school is too hard or that he or she cannot do a good job.

Task Persistence is typically assessed using tests like the Continuous Performance Test II (CPT-II) and the NEPSY-2 Word Generation scale. The CPT-II measures performance on a specific task over time while the Word Generation test in the NEPSY-2 measures the ability come up with words in a specific category independently. Task persistence is also measured by one’s performance on tests such as the Block Design Subtest of the WISC-IV  and the Animal Sorting Subtest of the NEPSY-II, where ongoing effort contributes to overall performance.

Task persistence is often  measured by one’s performance on certain tasks such as the Block Design Subtest of the WISC-IV  and the Animal Sorting Subtest of the NEPSY-II, where ongoing effort contributes to overall performance. The Executive Skills Questionnaire measures task persistence on a scale that measures grit and sustained effort. The BRIEF has the Sustaining Energy and Effort scale which taps into the concept of task persistence.

 

For More Information Regarding Goal Directed Persistence, Please Visit the Following Links:

LearningWorks For Kids: The premier resource for executive function information, offering a detailed explanation of goal-directed persistence, tips for parents and activities to improve this skill.

Kidz ’n Power: This site provides five simple ways for parents to help their children with concentration skills. Take a look!

Great Schools: This site allows for parents to search for ways to help their child with concentration and problematic situations depending on the grade level.

 

Photo Credit: ND Strupler / CC BY 2.0