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ERIC Number: EJ1121963
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1682-3206
Assessing Verbal Functioning in South African School Beginners from Diverse Socioeconomic Backgrounds: A Comparison between Verbal Working Memory and Vocabulary Measures
Cockcroft, Kate; Bloch, Lauren; Moolla, Azra
Education as Change, v20 n1 p199-215 2016
This study investigated whether measures of verbal working memory are less sensitive to children's socioeconomic background than traditional vocabulary measures. Participants were 120 school beginners, divided into high and low socioeconomic groups. The groups contained equal numbers of English first-language and second-language speakers. All were being educated in English. The results suggest that socioeconomic status accounts for considerable variance in vocabulary measures, while it explains only very small amounts of variance in working memory measures. In addition, the high socioeconomic group performed significantly better on the two vocabulary tests relative to the low socioeconomic group, while there were no significant differences between the groups on all but one of the four working memory tests. Working memory assessments appear to be less influenced by environmental factors and may constitute fairer forms of evaluation for children from differing socioeconomic backgrounds. As such, working memory measures may be a valuable supplement to psychoeducational assessment batteries.
Education as Change. The Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 524, Auckland Park, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa. Tel: +27-11-5591148; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 1; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Raven Progressive Matrices
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A