WORKING MEMORY AND LEARNING DIFFICULTIES: COEXISTENCE OR A STRONG RELATIONSHIP?

Victoria Zakopoulou, Dimitrios Sarris, Charalampos Zaragkas, Evangelos Tsampalas, Maria Vergou

Abstract


This research paper addressed the relationship between Learning Difficulties and Working Memory of a sample of primary students in 10 schools at 4 cities of Cyprus. Students with poor working memory have a low academic achievement, facing difficulties in reading and mathematical thinking. The main objective of the current research is to investigate the possibility of a causative interaction between working memory and the occurrence of learning difficulties in primary school students. Evaluating working memory in students with SLD, the analysis showed that it was significantly lower (p=,000), indicating a strong correlation between working memory and learning difficulties. Specifically, the analysis revealed a statistically significant correlation (p≤.001) between working memory and the variables of digit span, picture memory, pattern memory, grapheme discrimination, phoneme discrimination, and phoneme composition. Adding to the research, the current study stress that in students with learning difficulties the deficits in working memory are in a strong relationship with difficulties in specific types of both Sequence Working Memory and Grapheme-phoneme’s Awareness.

 

Article visualizations:

Hit counter

DOI

Keywords


working memory, learning difficulties

Full Text:

PDF

References


Alloway, T. P (2006). How does working memory work in the classroom? Educational Research and Reviews, 4, 134-139.

Alloway, T. P. (2014). Understanding Working Memory. London: Sage.

Alloway T. P. & Gathercole S. E. (2006) Working memory and neurodevelopmental conditions. Hove, England: Psychology Press.

Alloway, T. P. (2008). Effective screening tools for students with working memory impairments. Retrieved from www.leeds.ac.uk%2Feducol%2Fdocuments%2F177815.doc&usg=AOvVaw35J3Y6R-kVVPmAfF0HuUe5

Alloway, T. P., & Archibald, L. (2008). Working Memory and Learning in Students with Developmental Coordination Disorder and Specific Language Impairment. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41(3), 251-262. doi:10.1177/0022219408315815

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. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2008.10.003

Alloway T. P., Rajendran G. & Archibald, L. M. D. (2009). Working Memory in Students with Developmental Disorders. 42(4), 372-382.

Alloway, T. P., Gathercole, S. E., Kirkwood, H., & Elliot, J. (2011). Evaluating the validity of the Automated Working Memory Assessment. Educational Psychology, 31(5), 657-657. doi:10.1080/01443410.2011.596662

Alloway, T. P., & Alloway, R. G. (2013). Working memory across the lifespan: A cross-sectional approach. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25(1), 84-93. doi:10.1080/ 20445911. 2012.748027

Alloway, T. P., Alloway, R. G., & Wootan, S. (2014). Home sweet home: Does where you live matter to working memory and other cognitive skills? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 124, 124-131. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2013.11.012

Anastasiou, D., & Polychronopoulou, S. (2009). Identification and overidentification of specific learning disabilities (Dyslexia) in Greece. Learning Disability Quarterly, 32, 55-69. doi:10.2307/27740357

Andrade, B. F., & Tannock, R. (2013). Sustained Impact of Inattention and Hyperactivity-Impulsivity on Peer Problems: Mediating Roles of Prosocial Skills and Conduct Problems in a Community Sample of Students. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 45(3), 318-328. doi:10.1007/s10578-013-0402-x

Ashbaker, M. H., & Swanson, H. L. (1996). Short-term memory and working memory operations and their contribution to reading in adolescents with and without learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 11(4), 206-213.

Baddeley, A. (2000). The episodic buffer: A new component of working memory? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4(11), 417-423. doi:10.1016/s1364-6613(00)01538-2

Baddeley, A. (2007). Working memory, thought, and action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Baddeley, A. (2007). Introduction and overview. Working Memory, Thought, and Action, 1-14. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528012.003.0001

Baddeley, A., Gathercole, S., & Papagno, C. (1998). The phonological loop as a language learning device. Psychological Review, 105(1), 158-173. doi:10.1037//0033-295x.105.1.158

Bender, W. N. (2008). Learning disabilities: Characteristics, identification, and teaching strategies. Boston, MA: Pearson/A & B.

Berger, N. & Schneider, W. (2011). Verhaltensstörungen und Lernschwierigkei- ten in der Schule: Möglichkeiten der Prävention und Intervention. Stuttgart: UTB.

Best, J. R., & Miller, P. H. (2010). A Developmental Perspective on Executive Function. Child Development, 81(6), 1641-1660. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01499.x

Biewer, G. & Schütz, S. (2016). Inklusion. In I. Hedderich, G. Biewer, J. Hollenweger & R. Markowetz (Hrsg.), Handbuch Inklusion und Sonderpädagogik (S. 123–127). Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.

Blachman, B. A., Ball, E. W., Black, R. S., & Tangel, D. M. (1994). Kindergarten teachers develop phoneme awareness in low-income, inner-city classrooms. Reading and Writing,6(1), 1-18. doi:10.1007/bf01027275

Boyer, P., & Wertsch, J. V. (2009). Memory in Mind and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Case-Smith, J., & OBrien, J. C. (2014). Occupational therapy for students. St. Louis: Mosby.

Catts, H. W., Gillispie, M., Leonard, L. B., Kail, R. V., & Miller, C. A. (2002). The role of speed of processing, rapid naming, and phonological awareness in reading achievement. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35(6), 510-525.

Cherry, K. (2018). A Deeper Look Into Human Memory. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-memory-2795006

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research Methods in Education (6th ed.). London and New York, NY: Routledge Falmer

Crowder, R. G. (2015). Principles of learning and memory. New York: Psychology Press.

Damico, A., & Guarnera, M. (2005). Exploring working memory in students with low arithmetical achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 15(3), 189-202. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2005.01.002

Department of Health and Social Care. (2010, November 30). Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy for public health in England. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/healthy-lives-healthy-people-our-strategy-for-public-health-in-england

Diehl, K. (2010). Lesen- und Schreibenlernen. In B. Hartke, K. Koch & K. Diehl (Hrsg.), Förderung in der schulischen Eingangsstufe (S. 55–90). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.

Dudai, Y. (2002). Memory from A to Z: Keywords, concepts, and beyond. Oxford University Press New York:

Dumont, R., Whelley, P., Comtois, R., & Levine, B. (1994). Test of Memory and Learning (TOMAL): Test review. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 12 (2), 414–423

Fletcher, J. M. (2012). Classification and Identification of Learning Disabilities. Learning About Learning Disabilities, 1-25. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-388409-1.00001-1

Forde, E. M., & Humphreys, G. W. (2012). Category specificity in brain and mind. Hove: Psychology.

Fuchs, D., Compton, D. L., Fuchs, L. S., Bryant, V. J., Hamlett, C. L., & Lambert, W. (2012). First-grade cognitive abilities as long-term predictors of reading comprehension and disability status. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(3), 217-231.

Nelwan, M., & Kroesbergen, E. H. (2016). Limited Near and Far Transfer Effects of Jungle Memory Working Memory Training on Learning Mathematics in Students with Attentional and Mathematical Difficulties. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01384

Gathercole, S. E. (2014). Commentary: Working memory training and ADHD - where does its potential lie? Reflections on Chacko et al. (2014). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55(3), 256-257. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12196

Gargiulo, R. M., & Kilgo, J. L. (2013). An introduction to young students with special needs: Birth through age eight. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Gathercole, S. E., Lamont, E., & Alloway, T. P. (2006). Working Memory in the Classroom. Working Memory and Education, 219-240. doi:10.1016/b978-012554465-8/ 50010-7

Gathercole, S. E., & Alloway, T. P. (2007). Understanding Working Memory: A classroom guide. UK: Harcourt Assessment

Gathercole, S. E., Alloway, T. P., Kirkwood, H. J., Elliott, J. G., Holmes, J., & Hilton, K. A. (2008). Attentional and executive function behaviours in students with poor working memory. Learning and Individual Differences, 18(2), 214-223. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2007.10.003

Gathercole, S. E., & Alloway, T. P. (2012). Working memory and learning: A practical guide for teachers. Los Angeles: Sage.

Gathercole, S. E., Alloway, T. P., Willis, C., & Adams, A. (2006). Working memory in students with reading disabilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 93(3), 265-281. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2005.08.003

Gathercole, Brown, & Pickering, S. (2003). Working memory assessments at school entry as longitudinal predictors of National Curriculum attainment levels. Retrieved from https://research-information.bristol.ac.uk/en/publications/working-memory-assessments-at-school-entry-as-longitudinal-predictors-of-national-curriculum-attainment-levels(354b0a75-a1c9-4e2f-857a-ae4226e82738)/export.html

Gathercole, S. E., Pickering, S. J., Knight, C., & Stegmann, Z. (2003). Working memory skills and educational attainment: Evidence from national curriculum assessments at 7 and 14 years of age. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18(1), 1-16. doi:10.1002/acp.934

Gazzaniga, M. S., Ivry, R. B., Mangun, G. R., Zani, A., & Proverbio, A. M. (2015). Neuroscienze cognitive. Bologna: Zanichelli.

Gersten, R., Jordan, N. C., & Flojo, J. R. (2005). Early Identification and Interventions for Students with Mathematics Difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(4), 293-304. doi:10.1177/00222194050380040301

Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., & Hamson, C. O. (1999). Numerical and Arithmetical Cognition: Patterns of Functions and Deficits in Students at Risk for a Mathematical Disability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 74(3), 213-239. doi:10.1006/jecp.1999.2515

Gelbukh, (ed.) Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing, Second International Conference, CICLing 2001, Mexico City, February 2001 Proceedings, 43–52.

Ghani, K. A., & Gathercole, S. E. (2013). Working Memory and Study Skills: A Comparison between Dyslexic and Non-dyslexic Adult Learners. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 97, 271-277. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.233

Habeck, C., Rakitin, B., Steffener, J., & Stern, Y. (2012). Contrasting visual working memory for verbal and non-verbal material with multivariate analysis of fMRI. Brain Research, 1467, 27-41. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2012.05.045

He, F., Liu, M., Yang, D., Li, M., & Doss, D. (2016). Cognitive models: Piaget, McCarthy, and organizational management. Proceedings of the Academy of Organizational Culture, Communications, and Conflict, 21(1), 17-22.

Hinshaw, S. P. (1992). Externalizing behavior problems and academic underachievement in childhood and adolescence: Causal relationships and underlying mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin, 111(1), 127-155. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.111.1.127

Hitch, G. J., & Mcauley, E. (1991). Working memory in students with specific arithmetical learning difficulties. British Journal of Psychology, 82(3), 375-386. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1991.tb02406.x

Hooft, I. V., Andersson, K., Sejersen, T., Bartfai, A., & Wendt, L. V. (2007). Attention and memory training in students with acquired brain injuries. Acta Paediatrica, 92(8), 935-940. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2003.tb00627.x

Hunt, N., & Marshall, K. J. (2006). Exceptional students and youth: An introduction to special education. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Johnson, E. P., Perry, J., & Shamir, H. (2010). Variability in reading ability gains as a function of computer-assisted instruction method of presentation. Computers & Education, 55(1), 209-217. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2010.01.006

Kim, H. H. (2004). Learning disabilities. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.

Lehmann, M., & Eitmann, J. (2014). Systemische Lerntherapie Ein integrativer, beziehungs- und ressourcenorientierter Ansatz. Heidelberg, Neckar: Carl Auer Verlag.

Lerner, J. (2005). Learning Disabilities. NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Lerner, R. M., & Steinberg, L. D. (2009). Handbook of adolescent psychology. Hoboken (N.J.): J. Wiley & Sons.

Lesaux, N. K., & Siegel, L. S. (2003). The Development of Reading in Students Who Speak English as a Second Language. Developmental Psychology, 39(6), 1005-1019. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.39.6.1005

Lieberman, D. A. (2012). Human learning and memory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lustig, C., May, C. P., & Hasher, L. (2001). Working memory span and the role of proactive interference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130(2), 199-207. doi:10.1037//0096-3445.130.2.199.

Lyon, G. R. (1996). Learning Disabilities. The Future of Students, 6(1), 54. doi:10.2307/1602494

Maehler, C., & Schuchardt, K. (2016). Working memory in students with specific learning disorders and/or attention deficits. Learning and Individual Differences,49, 341-347. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2016.05.007

Martinussen, R., & Tannock, R. (2006). Working Memory Impairments in Students with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with and Without Comorbid Language Learning Disorders. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 28(7), 1073-1094. doi:10.1080/13803390500205700

Murata, M., Uchimoto, K., Ma, Q., & Isahara, H. (2001). Magical number seven plus or minus two: Syntactic structure recognition in Japanese and English sentences. In Alexander

Nesbitt, J. A., Neal, L. L., & Hillman, J. W. (2018). Recreation for Exceptional Students And Youth. Focus on Exceptional Students, 6(3). doi:10.17161/fec.v6i3.7386

Niaz, M., & Logie, R. H. (1993). Working Memory, Mental Capacity and Science Education: Towards an understanding of the ‘working memory overload hypothesis’. Oxford Review of Education, 19(4), 511-525. doi:10.1080/0305498930190407

Paraskevopoulos, I. N. & Paraskevopoulou, P. (2011). ATHINA Learning Difficulty Diagnostic Test. Retrieved from http://www.pi-schools.gr/download/publications/epitheorisi/teyxos17/005-039.pdf

Passolunghi, M. C. (2006). Working memory and arithmetic learning disability. In T. P. Alloway & S. E. Gathercole (Eds.), Working memory and neurodevelopmental disorders (pp. 113-138). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Pesova, B., Sivevska, D., & Runceva, J. (2014). Early intervention and prevention of students with Specific Learning Disabilities. Procedia. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 149, 701-708.

Poo, M., Pignatelli, M., Ryan, T. J., Tonegawa, S., Bonhoeffer, T., Martin, K. C., . . . Stevens, C. (2016). What is memory? The present state of the engram. BMC Biology,14(1). doi:10.1186/s12915-016-0261-6

Politimou, N., Masoura, E., & Kiosseoglou, G. (2015). Working Memory Rating Scales Utility to Identify Studentss Memory Difficulties in Diverse Educational Environments: Can It Work in Every School? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29(2), 291-298. doi:10.1002/acp.3107

Preßler, A. L., Könen, T., Hasselhorn, M., & Krajewski, K. (2014). Cognitive preconditions of early reading and spelling: a latent-variable approach with longitudinal data. Reading and Writing, 27(2), 383-406.

Roman, A. S. & Pisoni, D. B. (2011). Assessment of working memory capacity in young students using a modified version of Buschke’s ‘missing scan’ task. Poster session presented at the 5th International Conference on Memory; York, England.

Rose, J. (2009). Identifying and Teaching Students and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties (Rep. No. 1).

Röthlisberger, M., Neuenschwander, R., Cimeli, P., Michel, E., & Roebers, C. M. (2012). Improving executive functions in 5‐ and 6‐year‐olds: Evaluation of a small group intervention in prekindergarten and kindergarten students. Infant and Child Development, 21(4), 411-429. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00525

Saksida, A., Iannuzzi, S., Bogliotti, C., Chaix, Y., Démonet, J.F., Bricout, L., ... & George, F. (2016). Phonological skills, visual attention span, and visual stress in developmental dyslexia. Developmental Psychology, 52(10), 1503.

Sarris, D., Zakopoulou, V., & Tsampalas, E. (2017). Learning paths and learning styles in dyslexia: possibilities and effectiveness - case study of two elementary school students aged 7 years old. European Journal of Special Education Research, 3(1). doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1065936

Schuchardt, K., Kunze, J., Grube, D., & Hasselhorn, M. (2006). Arbeitsgedächtnisdefizite bei Kindern mit schwachen Rechen- und Schriftsprachleistungen. Zeitschrift Für Pädagogische Psychologie,20(4), 261-268. doi:10.1024/1010-0652.20.4.261

Share, D. L., & Leikin, M. (2004). Language Impairment at School Entry and Later Reading Disability: Connections at Lexical Versus Supralexical Levels of Reading. Scientific Studies of Reading, 8(1), 87-110. doi:10.1207/s1532799xssr0801_5

Shepherd, G. M. (1997). The synaptic organization of the brain: An introduction. (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Sumrall, W., Sumrall, R. & Doss, A. D. (2016). A Review of Memory Theory. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 6(1).

Spear, N. E., & Riccio, D. C. (1994). Memory: Phenomena and principles. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Steinbrink C., & Klatte M., 2008. Phonological working memory in German students with poor reading and spelling abilities. Dyslexia, 14(4): 271-290.

Storm, B. C. (2011). The Benefit of Forgetting in Thinking and Remembering. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(5), 291-295. doi:10.1177/0963721411418469

Swanson, H. L. (1994). Short-Term Memory and Working Memory. Journal of Learning Disabilities,27(1), 34-50. doi:10.1177/002221949402700107

Swanson, H. L., & Sachse-Lee, C. (2001). A Subgroup Analysis of Working Memory in Students with Reading Disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities,34(3), 249-263. doi:10.1177/002221940103400305

Swanson, H. L. & Saez, L. (2003). Memory difficulties in students and adults with learning disabilities. In H.L. Swanson, S. Graham, & K.R. Harris (Eds.), Handbook of learning disabilities, pp. 182-198. New York: Guildford Press.

Swanson, L., & Kim, K. (2007). Working memory, short-term memory, and naming speed as predictors of students mathematical performance. Intelligence,35(2), 151-168. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2006.07.001

Swanson, H. L., Harris, K. R., & Graham, S. (2014). Handbook of learning disabilities. New York, London: The Guilford Press.

Tulving, E. (2006): Das episodische Gedächtnis: Vom Geist zum Gehirn. In: Welzer, H., & Markowitisch, H.-J.: Warum Menschen sich erinnern können. Fortschritte der interdisziplinären Gedächtnisforschung. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.

Viki, A., & Papanis, E. (2008). ATHINA Test. Retrieved from http://epapanis.blogspot.com/2007/11/blog-post.html

Walker, M. P., Brakefield, T., Morgan, A., Hobson, J. A., & Stickgold, R. (2002). Practice with sleep makes perfect: sleep-dependent motor skill learning. Neuron, 35, 205–211.

Westwood, P. (2014). Learning and learning difficulties: A handbook for teachers. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Young, L. M. (2000). Working Memory, Language and Reading. Retrieved 17 October 2018 from http://www.brainresearch.us/Working_Memory.pdf

Zakopoulou, V., Pashou, T., Tzavelas, P., Christodoulides, P., Milona, A., Kolotoura, I. (2013). Learning difficulties: A retrospective study of their co morbidity and continuity as indicators of adult criminal behavior in 18 to 70-year-old prisoners. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34(11), 3660-3671.

Zakopoulou V., Anagnostopoulou A., Christodoulides P., Stavrou L., Sarri I., Mavreas V., Tzoufi M. (2011). An Interpretative Model of Early Indicators of Specific Developmental Dyslexia in Preschool Age. A Comparative Presentation of Three Studies in Greece. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 30, 3003-3016.

Zielinski, W. (1998). Lernschwierigkeiten: Ursachen - Diagnostik - Intervention. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.




Copyright © 2015. European Journal of Special Education Research (ISSN 2501 - 2428) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll 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 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).