Verbal and non-verbal working memory and achievements on national curriculum tests at 11 and 14 years of age

Research title: Verbal and non-verbal working memory and achievements on national curriculum tests at 11 and 14 years of age

Researchers: Helene L. Jarvis and Susan E. Gathercole

Published: Educational and Child Psychology

Following data that showed a correlation between poor working memory and low national curriculum test scores in the UK, the researchers in this study wanted to see how the correlation held up over time in subsequent tests. Since national curriculum tests are given at age 7, 11, and 14 in all state schools in the UK, and a past study showed a significant correlation between poor test scores and working memory impairment at age seven, this study investigated whether the same correlation was present following the national curriculum test for students ages 11 and 14.

Another component to this study was to examine whether poor verbal working memory correlated to poor tests scores, since the first study only assessed for impairments in central executive and visuo-spatial working memory.

The researchers found first that impaired verbal working memory correlated to poor tests scores, as did impairments in visuo-spatial working memory – and that this correlation was significant following the standardized test for students age 11 and 14.

This study demonstrated that both verbal and visuo-spatial working memory are predictors of academic success– and that this holds true for children ages 7-14.