Eleni Rachanioti, Eleni Griva, Anastasia Alevriadou


The present study aimed at comparing the working memory of Greek monolingual students to bilingual ones from migrant backgrounds who all attend primary school. Secondly, an effort was made to investigate the correlation of the working memory with the academic performance in both groups. Moreover, the correlation of the vocabulary strategies, employed by monolingual and bilingual students in an integrated memory-based text framework (Rachanioti, Griva & Alevriadou, 2017), with their working memory was explored. The sample consisted of 20 monolingual and 20 bilingual students of Albanian origin, who attended the 5th and 6th grade of three primary schools in Eastern Thessaloniki, Greece. The monolingual and bilingual students were matched according to their mark reports on academic performance. The Automated Working Memory Assessment (Alloway, 2007) was used to assess the students’ working memory. The data revealed that monolingual and bilingual students did not differ either in the verbal working memory or the visuospatial working memory performance. A statistically significant positive correlation between working memory and academic performance was found in both monolingual and bilingual students. The correlation of the Process strategies with the verbal working memory was statistically significant in monolingual students, as well as in the bilingual ones. The Memory strategies were positively correlated with the verbal and visuospatial working memory in both groups. The Confirmation/consolidation strategies were positively correlated with the verbal working memory only in the bilingual students. Results are discussed in terms of memory strategy instruction that may compensate for a poor working memory of both monolingual and bilingual students in a classroom’s setting, thus aiding to improve their academic performance. This study is the first trial of the AWMA in Greek students as well as bilingual immigrant ones.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



working memory, academic performance, vocabulary strategies, monolingual students, bilingual students


Alloway, T.P. 2007. Working Memory, Reading and Mathematical Skills in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 96: 20-36.

Alloway, T. P., & Alloway, R. G. 2010. Investigating the predictive roles of working memory and IQ in academic attainment. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 106(1): 20-29.

Alloway, T. P., & Archibald, L. 2008. Working memory and learning in children with developmental coordination disorder and specific language impairment. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41(3): 251-262.

Alloway, T. P., Gathercole, S. E., Kirkwood, H., & Elliott, J. 2008. Evaluating the validity of the automated working memory assessment. Educational Psychology, 28(7): 725-734.

Alloway, T. P., Gathercole, S. E., & Pickering, S. J. 2006. Verbal and visuospatial short‐term and working memory in children: are they separable?. Child Development, 77(6): 1698-1716.

Baddeley, A. D. 1992. Working memory. Science, 225: 556-559

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

Baddeley, A. D., & Hitch, G. 1974. Working memory. In G.H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in Research and Theory. New York: Academic Press, pp 47–89.

Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I., Klein, R., & Viswanathan, M. 2004. Bilingualism, aging, and cognitive control: evidence from the Simon task. Psychology and Aging, 19(2): 290.

Bialystok, E. 2009. Bilingualism: The good, the bad, and the indifferent. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12(01): 3-11.

Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Kane, M. J. 2008. Why does working memory span predict complex cognition? Testing the strategy affordance hypothesis. Memory & Cognition, 36(8): 1383-1390.

Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I., & Freedman, M. 2007. Bilingualism as a protection against the onset of symptoms of dementia. Neuropsychologia, 45(2): 459-464.

Bialystok, E., Craik, F., & Luk, G. 2008. Cognitive control and lexical access in younger and older bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 34(4): 859.

Bialystok E & Feng X. 2009. Language proficiency and its implications for monolingual and bilingual children. In: Durgunoglu AY, Goldenberg C, (Eds). Language and Literacy Development in Bilingual Settings. New York, NY: Guildford Publications, pp. 121–138.

Bonifacci, P., Giombini, L., Bellocchi, S., & Contento, S. 2011. Speed of processing, anticipation, inhibition and working memory in bilinguals. Developmental Science, 14(2): 256-269.

Budd, D., Whitney, P., & Turley, K. J. 1995. Individual differences in working memory strategies for reading expository text. Memory & Cognition, 23(6): 735-748.

Cain, K., Oakhill, J., & Bryant, P. 2004. Children's reading comprehension ability: Concurrent prediction by working memory, verbal ability, and component skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(1): 31.

Carretti, B., Borella, E., & De Beni, R. 2007. Does strategic memory training improve the working memory performance of younger and older adults?. Experimental Psychology, 54(4): 311-320.

Carruthers, P. 2013. Evolution of working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110: 10371-10378.

Chiappe, P., Siegel, L. S., & Hasher, L. 2000. Working memory, inhibitory control, and reading disability. Memory & Cognition, 28(1): 8-17.

Cowan, N. 2001. Metatheory of storage capacity limits. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24(01): 154-176.

Daneman, M., & Hannon, B. 2007. What do working memory span tasks like reading span really measure. The cognitive neuroscience of working memory, 21-42.

De Beni, R., Palladino, P., Pazzaglia, F., & Cornoldi, C. 1998. Increases in intrusion errors and working memory deficit of poor comprehenders. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology A: Human Experimental Psychology.

DeMarie, D., Miller, P. H., Ferron, J., & Cunningham, W. R. 2004. Path analysis tests of theoretical models of children's memory performance. Journal of Cognition and Development, 5(4): 461-492.

Dunlosky, J., & Kane, M. J. 2007. The contributions of strategy use to working memory span: A comparison of strategy assessment methods. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60(9): 1227-1245.

Engle, R. W. 2002. Working memory capacity as executive attention. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(1): 19-23.

Engel de Abreu, P. M. 2011. Working memory in multilingual children: Is there a bilingual effect? Memory, 19(5): 529-537.

Engle, R. W., Cantor, J., & Carullo, J. J. 1992. Individual differences in working memory and comprehension: a test of four hypotheses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 18(5): 972-992.

Engel de Abreu, P. M., Cruz‐Santos, A., & Puglisi, M. L. 2014. Specific language impairment in language‐minority children from low‐income families. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 49(6): 736-747.

Engel de Abreu, P. M., Cruz-Santos, A., Tourinho, C. J., Martin, R., & Bialystok, E. 2012. Bilingualism enriches the poor: Enhanced cognitive control in low-income minority children. Psychological Science, 23(11): 1364-1371.

Gathercole, S. E., Alloway, T. P., Willis, C., & Adams, A. M. 2006. Working memory in children with reading disabilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 93(3): 265-281.

Gathercole, S. E., & Baddeley, A. D. 1990. Phonological memory deficits in language disordered children: Is there a causal connection?. Journal of Memory and Language, 29(3): 336-360.

Gathercole, S. E., Hitch, G. J., & Martin, A. J. 1997. Phonological short-term memory and new word learning in children. Developmental Psychology, 33(6): 966.

Gathercole, S. E., Service, E., Hitch, G. J., Adams, A. M., & Martin, A. J. 1999. Phonological short‐term memory and vocabulary development: further evidence on the nature of the relationship. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 13(1): 65-77.

Gathercole, S. E., & Pickering, S. J. 2000. Working memory deficits in children with low achievements in the national curriculum at 7 years of age. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70(2): 177-194.

Hambrick, D. Z., & Engle, R. W. 2002. Effects of domain knowledge, working memory capacity, and age on cognitive performance: An investigation of the knowledge-is-power hypothesis. Cognitive Psychology, 44(4): 339-387.

Holmes, J., Gathercole, S. E., & Dunning, D. L. 2009. Adaptive training leads to sustained enhancement of poor working memory in children. Developmental Science, 12(4): F9-F15.

Kane, M. J., Bleckley, M. K., Conway, A. R., & Engle, R. W. 2001. A controlled-attention view of working-memory capacity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130(2): 169.

Kintsch, W. 1994. Text comprehension, memory, and learning. American Psychologist, 49(4): 294.

Klingberg, T., Fernell, E., Olesen, J., Johnson, M., Gustafsson, P., Dahlstrom, K., & Westerberg, H. 2005. Computerized Training of Working Memory in Children With ADHD—A Randomized, Controlled Trial. J. AM. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 44(2): 177.

Martin-Rhee, M. M., & Bialystok, E. 2008. The development of two types of inhibitory control in monolingual and bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 11(01): 81-93.

Miller, G. A. 1956. The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63(2): 81.

Minear, M., & Shah, P. 2006. Sources of working memory deficits in children and possibilities for remediation. Working memory and education, 273-307.

McNamara, D. S., & Scott, J. L. 2001. Working memory capacity and strategy use. Memory & Cognition, 29(1): 10-17.

Morales, J., Calvo, A., & Bialystok, E. 2013. Working memory development in monolingual and bilingual children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114(2): 187-202.

Morrison, A. B., & Chein, J. M. 2011. Does working memory training work? The promise and challenges of enhancing cognition by training working memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18(1): 46-60.

Nairne, J. S. 2002. The myth of the encoding-retrieval match. Memory, 10(5-6): 389-395.

Namazi, M., & Thordardottir, E. 2010. A working memory, not bilingual advantage, in controlled attention. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13(5): 597-616.

Orgassa, A., & Weerman, F. 2008. Dutch gender in specific language impairment and second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 24(3): 333-364.

Pham, A. V., & Hasson, R. M. 2014. Verbal and visuospatial working memory as predictors of children's reading ability. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, acu024.

Rachanioti, L., Griva, E., & Alevriadou, A. 2017. Children ‘Think Aloud’ and ‘Talk About’ Vocabulary Strategies in an Integrated Memory-based Text Framework. Journal of Studies in Education, 7(1): 61-88.

Schelble, J. L., Therriault, D. J., & Miller, M. D. 2012. Classifying retrieval strategies as a function of working memory. Memory & Cognition, 40(2): 218-230.

St Clair-Thompson, H. L., & Gathercole, S. E. 2006. Executive functions and achievements in school: Shifting, updating, inhibition, and working memory. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59(4): 745-759.

St Clair‐Thompson, H., Stevens, R., Hunt, A., & Bolder, E. 2010. Improving children's working memory and classroom performance. Educational Psychology, 30(2): 203-219.

Sweller, J., & Chandler, P. 1994. Why some material is difficult to learn. Cognition and Instruction, 12(3): 185-233.

Turley-Ames, K. J., & Whitfield, M. M. 2003. Strategy training and working memory task performance. Journal of Memory and Language, 49(4): 446-468.

Turner, M. L., & Engle, R. W. 1989. Is Working Memory Capacity Task Dependent?. Journal of Memory and Language, 28(2): 127.

Verhoeven, L., Steenge, J., & van Balkom, H. 2012. Linguistic transfer in bilingual children with specific language impairment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 47(2): 176-183.

Westerberg, H., & Klingberg, T. 2007. Changes in cortical activity after training of working memory—a single-subject analysis. Physiology & Behavior, 92(1): 186-192.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Eleni Rachanioti, Eleni Griva, Anastasia Alevriadou

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2015-2018. European Journal of Education Studies (ISSN 2501 - 1111) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All authors who send their manuscripts to this journal and whose articles are published on this journal retain full copyright of their articles. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).