Comparison of two working memory test paradigms: correlation with academic performance in school-aged children

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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between two different working memory task paradigms and academic achievement. Participants were 202 Australian primary-school children who were assessed on the Complex Auditory Span Evaluation (CASE)-a dual-task paradigm-and a reverse digit span paradigm, the number memory reversed test (NMR). Performance was correlated against the participants' National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results. Both the CASE and NMR were significant predictors of academic ability in literacy and numeracy. Whereas there was a significant correlation between the CASE and NMR, the relationship was weak (r=0.18, p=0.012). It was concluded that, although both types of test are related to academic achievement, NMR and dual-task paradigm tasks may be differentially sensitive to the working memory abilities required in different real-world situations. This result has implications for use of such tasks to predict academic performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2014. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • working Memory
  • complex span
  • dual-task paradigm
  • academic achievement


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