Measures and References: Working Memory

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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.

Automated Working Memory Assessment (AWMA) (Alloway, 2007): Computer-based battery with multiple measures of verbal and visuospatial Short-term and Working Memory

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


Alloway, T. P., Gathercole, S. E., Kirkwood, H., & Elliott, J. (2009). The working memory rating scale: A classroom-based behavioral assessment of working memory. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(2), 242-245.

Andersson, U. (2008). Working memory as a predictor of written arithmetical skills in children: The importance of central executive functions. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(2), 181-203.

Barrouillet, P., & Lepine, R. (2005). Working memory and children's use of retrieval to solve addition problems. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 91, 183-204.

Beilock, S. L., Rydell, R. J., & McConnell, A. R. (2007). Stereotype threat and working memory: Mechanisms, alleviation, and spillover. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136(2), 256-276.

Bull, R., Espy, K. A., & Wiebe, S. A. (2008). Short-term memory, working memory, and executive functioning in preschoolers: Longitudinal predictors of mathematical achievement at age 7 years. Developmental Neuropsychology, 33(3), 205-228.

Caviola, S., Mammarella, I. C., Cornoldi, C., & Lucangeli, D. (2012). The involvement of working memory in children's exact and approximate mental addition. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 112(2), 141-160.

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.

Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., Nugent, L., & Byrd-Craven, J. (2008). Development of number line representations in children with mathematical learning disability. Developmental Neuropsychology, 33(3), 277-299.

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

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

Koresbergen, E. H., Van Luit, J. E. H., Van Lieshout, E. C. D. M., Van Loosbroek, E., & Van de Rijt, B. A. M. (2009). Young children at risk for math disabilities : Counting skills and executive functions. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 27(3), 226-236.

Lehmann, J., Quaiser-Pohl, C., & Jansen, P. (2014). Correlation of motor skill, mental rotation, and working memory in 3- to 6-year-old children. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 11(5), 560-573.

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

Mammarella, N., Cornoldi, C., & Donadello, E. (2003). Visual but not spatial working memory deficit in children with spina bifida. Brain and Cognition, 53, 311-314.

McKenzie, B. Bull, R., & Gray, C. (2003). The effects of phonological and visual-spatial interference on children's arithmetical performance. Educational and Child Psychology, 20(3).

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.

Noel, M.P. (2009). Counting on working memory when learning to count and to add: A preschool study. Developmental Psychology, 45(6), 1630-1643.

Östergren, R., & Traff, U. (2013). Early number knowledge and cognitive ability affect early arithmetic ability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 115, 405-421.

Passolunghi, M. C., Vercelloni, B., & Schadee, H. (2007). The precursors of mathematics learning: Working memory, phonological ability and numerical competence. Cognitive Development, 22, 165-184.

Passolunghi, M. C., & Mammarella, I. C. (2010). Spatial and visual working memory ability in children with difficulties in arithmetic word problem solving. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 22(6), 944-963.

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.

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

Seethaler, P. M., & Fuchs, L. S. (2006). The cognitive correlates of computational estimation skill among third-grade students. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 21(4), 233-243.

van der Ven, S. H. G., van der Maas, H. L. J., Straatemeier, M., & Jansen, B. R. J. (2013). Visuospatial working memory and mathematical ability at different ages throughout primary school. Learning and Individual Differences, 27, 182-192.

Xenidou-Dervou, L., van der Shot, M., & Van Lieshout, E. C. D. M. (2015). Working memory and number line representations in single-digit addition: Approximate versus exact, nonsymbolic versus symbolic. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68(6), 1148-1167.

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.