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A distinction between working memory components as unique predictors of mathematical components in 7–8 year old children

Allen, Katie and Giofrè, David (2021) 'A distinction between working memory components as unique predictors of mathematical components in 7–8 year old children.', Educational Psychology, 41 (6). pp. 678-694.


Despite evidence for the involvement of working memory in mathematics attainment, the understanding of its components relationship to individual areas of mathematics is somewhat restricted. This study aims to better understand this relationship. Two-hundred and fourteen year 3 children in the UK were administered tests of verbal and visuospatial working memory, followed by a standardised mathematics test. Confirmatory factor analyses and variance partitioning were then performed on the data to identify the unique variance accounted for by verbal and visuospatial working memory measures for each component of mathematics assessed. Results revealed contrasting patterns between components, with those typically visual components demonstrating a larger proportion of unique variance explained by visuospatial measures. This pattern reveals a level of specificity with regard to the component of working memory engaged depending on the component of mathematics being assessed. Implications for educators and further research are discussed.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date accepted:26 November 2020
Date deposited:20 January 2021
Date of first online publication:04 January 2021
Date first made open access:20 January 2021

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