The present study compared 6–11 years old with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and those with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) on measures of memory (verbal short-term and working memory, visuo-spatial short-term and working memory), literacy and numeracy, and IQ. The findings indicate that children with DCD appear to be impaired in all four areas of memory function; in particular they performed at significantly lower levels than children with MLD in measures of verbal short-term memory, visuo-spatial short-term and working memory. In contrast, performance of children with MLD in the memory measures was within age-expected levels, with deficits observed only in verbal working memory tasks. There were also differential links between memory and attainment between the two groups, and these were significant even after statistically accounting for the contribution of IQ. Reasons for why working memory contributes to learning in these two developmental groups are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.