Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Darlene DeMarie, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

James King, Ed.D.

Committee Member

James King, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey Kromney, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Shircliffe, Ph.D.

Keywords

academic achievment, adolescents, inattention, working memory

Abstract

The present study examined the direction and strength of the relation between three different areas academic achievement and working memory with adolescent students. The data analyzed included ratings for inattention, a diagnosis of ADHD (or not), and demographic information for race/ethnicity. Fifty children aged 11 to16 years of age participated in the study. Participants were recruited from several middle schools, homeschooling networks, and churches from a southeastern state of the United States. Each participant completed a standardized achievement test, a behavioral rating scale, and visual and verbal working memory tests. The research questions investigated: 1) the relation between visual and verbal working memory with each of three areas of academic achievement; 2) whether the relation between visual and verbal working memory was strengthened or moderated by inattention.

Results found that verbal-auditory working memory (p= <.01) and visual-spatial working memory (p= <.01) each predicted both math and reading achievement. However, only verbal-auditory working memory predicted written expression achievement (p=.01). There was a positive relation between the working memory scores and academic achievement, with higher working memory scores predicting higher academic achievement. Due to significant differences with the standardized testing scores between Caucasians and non-Caucasians, the analysis was controlled for ethnicity. The measure of inattention problems did not add significantly to or moderate the prediction of academic achievement by visual or verbal working memory after controlling for ethnicity. Future recommendations included research to support students with low working memory skills and to examine the cultural sensitivity of the working memory batteries.

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