Working memory and word-problem solving trainings, which combination is more effective?

Best Evidence in Brief Index

Marta Pellegrini, University of Cagliari, Italy

A study conducted by Lynn and Douglas Fuchs and colleagues looked at the effectiveness of interventions that combine training on working memory (WM) and word-problem solving (WPS). The four interventions were as follows:

  • Intervention 1 – general training on WM
  • Intervention 2 – training on WPS without WM training
  • Intervention 3 – training on WPS with math-specific WM training
  • Control group – no intervention

General WM training consisted of sessions using verbal and visuospatial modalities, to which the authors added 5 minutes on mathematics practice. The WPS intervention used in the study was Pirate Math that consists of four phases in each session: arithmetic problems, word-problem solving with a tutor, games, and practice. Finally, math-specific WM training was developed by the authors to support students in applying their working memory capacity in mathematics.

A randomized study evaluated the effects of the interventions on academic…

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