Working memory and cognitive styles in adolescents' attainment
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2011
2010 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Educational Psychology
Volume 80, Issue 4, pages 567–581, December 2010
How to Cite
Alloway, T. P., Banner, G. E. and Smith, P. (2010), Working memory and cognitive styles in adolescents' attainment. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80: 567–581. doi: 10.1348/000709910X494566
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2011
- Received 21 July 2009; revised version received 12 February 2010
Background. Working memory, the ability to store and process information, is strongly related to learning outcomes.
Aims. The aim of the present study is to extend previous research on early learning and investigate the relationship between working memory, cognitive styles, and attainment in adolescents using both national curriculum tests and teacher-based assessments.
Sample. A group of 164 13-year-olds from a school in England were recruited.
Methods. They took tests of working memory and cognitive styles. The school provided the attainment scores.
Results. Working memory was found to be the predictor of learning outcomes in English, Maths, and Science, as well as all teacher assessments. There was also a significant interplay between working memory, styles, and attainment. For students with high working memory, their style preference does not impact attainment. Students most at risk were analytics with low working memory as they performed worse in the most subjects.
Conclusions. The findings suggest that the interplay between working memory and cognitive styles can be useful in developing suitable interventions to support students.