Department of Education

Research projects

Improving Children’s Working Memory

Research Group: Children Learning

Working memory is the ability to remember and manipulate information over short time-frames. Longitudinal studies show a correlation between working memory and attainment in maths, particularly arithmetic; this relation holds true even when intelligence is controlled for. The Working Memory programme has been tested in two control group studies, one with hearing children and one with deaf children. These two studies provide promising results with both suggesting that the intervention positively impacts on working memory.

The working memory intervention is delivered by teaching assistants (TAs) and targeted pupils are identified by teachers as performing in the bottom third of the class for numeracy at the end of Key Stage 1. TAs worked with children to teach them memory strategies; the children practise the use of these strategies through adaptive games played online developed by the Children Learning team. The programme’s impact on working memory and arithmetic is being evaluated by an independent evaluation team in a project sponsored by the EEF.

Funder: Education Endowment Foundation
Start date: 01/01/2016
End date: 31/07/2018

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