Working memory is the ability to hold and manipulate information for short periods of time. It is a high-level cognitive skill where students also direct their attention to a task, despite distractions in the environment. A number of research studies have confirmed strong, significant, positive links between working memory and academic achievement in all students.
Previous research has suggested that low working memory skills are linked to underachievement in education for primary school children (10% to 16% of students). This is because students with poor attention skills and low working memory can become cognitively overloaded with instructions and information, and so are unable to cope well with meeting the educational demands of the classroom. However, with appropriate supports, with students and teachers using Memory Mates strategies, positive changes and progress are possible for all students (see references for examples of the Memory Mates’ team’s research confirming the positive impacts of using Memory Mates).