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Child Underachievement Linked To Weak Working Memory

Armen Hareyan's picture

Children with under-achievement at school may be caused by weak working memory, rather than low intelligence.

Scientists from Durham University examined 3000 primary school children and found 10% of them suffering from poor working memory. Working memory is responsible for holding and manipulating information, such as remembering and writing down verbally pronounced sentences, adding numbers without writing them down, and generally remembering things.

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These children may have under-achievement, because they are difficult to follow teacher's instruction and remember whatever spoken in a classroom. These children must be identified as soon as possible in younger ages and properly treated, because they may have even more difficulties in older ages.

Durham University scientists offer Working Memory Rating Scale (WMRS) test to identify working memory weakness without leading a child directly to a test. If a child is showing potential of weak working memory, teachers can also pass another test Automated Working Memory Assessment (AWMA). In case of confirmed weakness children will be provided with special classes to improve working memory and tackle underachievement

Professor Tracy Alloway said: "These are the first tools available to screen working memory problems. Children's working memory problems have been diagnosed as having low levels of intelligence or dreamers, but these children are not getting proper support. It will help tackle underachievement because it is providing specialist support for the children at an early age."