The EXAMINER test battery was developed to reliably and validly assess executive function for clinical research and trials.

The goal of the EXAMINER project was to develop a neuropsychological test battery to reliably and validly assess domains of executive function (often defined as the ability to engage in goal-oriented behavior) for clinical investigations and clinical trials that would be adaptable to a wide range of ages and disorders and capture real-life social and executive deficits. Data collection targets were established with this goal in mind by the EXAMINER advisory panel, NINDS focus groups, NINDS Project Officer and the UCSF team. Piloting and ongoing data collection were conducted utilizing the large research infrastructure at UCSF and in collaboration with nine remote sites to represent a full range of geographic regions, ethnic groups, age groups and diagnostic disorders. The project lasted five years, from December 2006 through 2010.

Our battery of executive tests was modeled to encompass the attributes described below:

  1. Modular. Executive functioning encompasses multiple domains of behavior, such as generation, set-shifting, working memory, inhibition, concept formation and social behavior. A valid measure of executive functions should assess all of these domains. Separate modules offering the ability to quantify each of the relevant domains should be available to researchers to use separately or collectively, depending on the researcher’s needs.
  2. Modifiable. Any standard battery of executive tasks must be flexible enough to be adapted to a range of experimental and clinical situations.
  3. Efficient. To be maximally useful, an executive function battery will need to provide reliable and valid test data in as brief a period as possible.
  4. Applicable to a broad range of subjects in terms of age and ethnicity. An unbiased measure should be equally sensitive to change in individuals from different age and ethnic groups.
  5. Psychometrically robust. Good psychometric properties, including measured reliability and relationships with frontal lobe injury or real-world behavior, are a key element for measures designed for clinical trials.

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