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An Evaluation of a Classroom-Based Intervention to Help Overcome Working Memory Difficulties and Improve Long-Term Academic Achievement

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Two contrasting forms of classroom-based intervention were implemented with 256 primary school children identified as having working memory (WM) difficulties. In one, teaching staff were trained to provide educational environments that were sensitive to the needs of identified children with WM difficulties. The second form of intervention utilized a behavioral teaching approach in which identified children were provided with regular, brief, and highly focused inputs in relevant basic skills areas. A third group of children with similar WM difficulties served as controls. At the end of the year, there was no evidence that either of the intervention programs had resulted in greater WM or academic performance (on Wechsler mathematics and reading tests) than for controls. However, classroom observation data indicated that the extent to which teachers implemented desirable strategies at any time point, inside or outside of the interventions (that is, across all of the research groups), proved to be a predictor of the children's attainment. The implications of these findings for further work in this burgeoning field are discussed.
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Keywords: INTERVENTION; LEARNING DIFFICULTIES; MATHEMATICS; PRECISION TEACHING; READING; WORKING MEMORY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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  • Research on the mechanisms of human cognition is leading to a deeper understanding of how the processes of thinking, problem solving, attention, perception, and memory affect learning and have led to effective strategies to enhance learning in educational settings ranging from pre-K to adult education environments. The Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology (JCEP) presents in-depth articles on theory and empirical research as well as current practice and effectiveness of cognitive assessment, cognitive rehabilitation, cognitive education, and psychology around the world. Readers include those in education, cognitive psychology, special education, adult education, educational psychology, school psychology, speech and language, and public policy.
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