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ERIC Number: EJ1054473
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Aug
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
EISSN: EISSN-1939-2176
Does Cognitive Strategy Training on Word Problems Compensate for Working Memory Capacity in Children with Math Difficulties?
Swanson, H. Lee
Journal of Educational Psychology, v106 n3 p831-848 Aug 2014
Cognitive strategies are important tools for children with math difficulties (MD) in learning to solve word problems. The effectiveness of strategy training, however, depends on working memory capacity (WMC). Thus, children with MD but with relatively higher WMC are more likely to benefit from strategy training, whereas children with lower WMC may have their resources overtaxed. Children in Grade 3 (N = 147) were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: (a) verbal strategies (e.g., underlining question sentence), (b) visual strategies (e.g., correctly placing numbers in diagrams), (c) verbal plus visual strategies, or (d) an untreated control. In line with the predictions, children with MD and higher WMC benefited from verbal or visual strategies relative to those in the control condition on posttest measures of problem solving, calculation, and operation span. In contrast, cognitive strategies decreased problem-solving accuracy in children with low WMC. Thus, improvement in problem solving and related measures, as well as the impairment in learning outcomes, was moderated by WMC.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Raven Progressive Matrices; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test; Wide Range Achievement Test
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: USDER3234A090002; R324A090002
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Meets Evidence Standards without Reservations