Measures and References: Working Memory

Return to Working Memory factor page.


Numerous measures exist to gain a full picture of a student's learning strengths and challenges. Following are examples of measures used to assess this Learner Factor. These measures should be administered and interpreted by experienced professionals.

Corsi Block or Block Recall (Pickering & Gathercole, 2001): Measures visuospatial Working Memory using taps on a set of blocks that participants replicate in reverse order

Reading or Listening Span (e.g., Daneman & Carpenter, 1980): Measures verbal Working Memory by asking students to remember verbal information while concurrently performing other cognitive tasks, for example, reading a series of individually presented sentences and recalling the final word from each, in order.


Arrington, C. N., Kulesz, P. A., Francis, D. J., Fletcher, J. M., & Barnes, M. A. (2014). The contribution of attentional control and working memory to reading comprehension and decoding. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18(5), 325-346.

Baddeley, A. (2000). The episodic buffer: A new component of working memory?. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4(11), 417-423.

Budde, H., Voelcker-Rehage, C., Pietrassyk-Kendziorra, S., Machado, S., Ribeiro, P., & Arafat, A. M. (2010). Steroid hormones in the saliva of adolescents after different exercise intensities and their influence on working memory in a school setting. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(3), 382-391.

Daneman, M., & Carpenter, P. A. (1980). Individual differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19(4), 450-466.

Della Sala, S., Gray, C., Baddeley, A., Allamano, N., & Wilson, L. (1999). Pattern span: A tool for unwelding visuo-spatial memory. Neuropsychologia, 37(10), 1189-1199.

DePrince, A. P., Weinzierl, K. M., & Combs, M. D. (2009). Executive function performance and trauma exposure in a community sample of children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33(6), 353-361.

Duan, X., Wei, S., Wang, G., & Shi, J. (2010). The relationship between executive functions and intelligence on 11- to 12-year- old children. Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling, 52(4), 419-431.

Farah, M. J., Shera, D. M., Savage, J. H., Betancourt, L., Giannetta, J. M., Brodsky, N., … E.K., Hurt, H. (2006). Childhood poverty: Specific associations with neurocognitive development. Brain Research, 1110, 166-174.

Foley, A. E., Herts, J. B., Borgonovi, F., Guerriero, S., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2017). The math anxiety-performance link: A global phenomenon. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26(1), 52-58.

Hofmann, W., Schmeichel, B. J., & Baddeley, A. D. (2012). Executive functions and self-regulation. Trends in __Cognitive Sciences, 16(3), 174-180.

Ibertsson, T., Hansson, K., Asker‐Àrnason, L., & Sahlen, B. (2009). Speech recognition, working memory and conversation in children with cochlear implants. Deafness & Education International, 11(3), 132-151.

Kail, R., & Hall, L. K. (2001). Distinguishing short-term memory from working memory. Memory & Cognition, 29(1), 1-9.

Kail, R., & Salthouse, T. A. (1994). Processing speed as a mental capacity. Acta Psychologica, 86(2-3), 199-225.

Khurana, A., Romer, D., Betancourt, L. M., Brodsky, N. L., Giannetta, J. M., & Hurt, H. (2013). Working memory ability predicts trajectories of early alcohol use in adolescents: The mediational role of impulsivity. Addiction, 108(3), 506-515.

Li, Y., & Geary, D. C. (2013). Developmental gains in visuospatial memory predict gains in mathematics achievement. PloS One, 8(7).

Lustig, C., May, C., & Hasher, L. (2001). Working memory span and the role of proactive interference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130(2), 199-207.

Malone, A. S., Loehr, A. M., & Fuchs, L. S. (2017). The role of domain-general cognitive abilities and decimal labels in at-risk fourth-grade students' decimal magnitude understanding. Learning and Individual Differences, 58, 90-96.

McKown, C., & Weinstein, R.S. (2003). The development and consequences of stereotype-consciousness in middle childhood._ Child Development, 74, _498-515.

Moura, R., Wood, G. M., Pinheiro-Chagas, P., Lonnemann, J., Krinzinger, H., Willmes, K., & Haase, V. G. (2013). Transcoding abilities in typical and atypical mathematics achievers: The role of working memory and procedural and lexical competencies. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116, 707-727.

Pickering, S. J., Gathercole, S. E., Hall, M., & Lloyd, S. A. (2001). Development of memory for pattern and path: Further evidence for the fractionation of visuo-spatial memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A: Human Experimental Psychology, 54(2), 397-420.

Poon, K. (2018). Hot and cool executive functions in adolescence: Development and contributions to important developmental outcomes. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(2311), 1-18.

Schmader, T., Johns, M., & Forbes, C. (2008). An integrated process model of stereotype threat effects on performance. Psychological Review, 115(2), 336-356.

Schmader, T. (2010). Stereotype threat deconstructed. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(1), 14-18.

Steenari, M. R., Vuontela, V., Paavonen, E. J., Carlson, S., Fjallberg, M., & Aronen, E. T. (2003). Working memory and sleep in 6-to 13-year-old schoolchildren. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(1), 85-92.

Swanson, L., & Kim, K. (2007). Working memory, short-term memory, and naming speed as predictors of children's mathematical performance. Intelligence, 35, 151-168.

Tourva, A., Spanoudis, G., & Demetriou, A. (2016). Cognitive correlates of developing intelligence: The contribution of working memory, processing speed and attention. Intelligence, 54, 136-146.

Trezise, K., & Reeve, R. A. (2014). Working memory, worry, and algebraic ability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 121(1), 120-136.

Zimmer, H. D., Speiser, H. R., & Seidler, B. (2003). Spatio-temporal working-memory and short-term object-location tasks use different memory mechanisms. Acta Psychologica, 114, 41-65.