Comparison of two working memory test paradigms: Correlation with academic performance in school-aged children
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between two different working memory task paradigms and academic achievement. Participants were 202 Australian primary-school children who were assessed on the Complex Auditory Span Evaluation (CASE) - a dual-task paradigm - and a reverse digit span paradigm, the number memory reversed test (NMR). Performance was correlated against the participants’ National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results. Both the CASE and NMR were significant predictors of academic ability in literacy and numeracy. Whereas there was a significant correlation between the CASE and NMR, the relationship was weak (r = 0.18, p = 0.012). It was concluded that, although both types of test are related to academic achievement, NMR and dual-task paradigm tasks may be differentially sensitive to the working memory abilities required in different real-world situations. This result has implications for use of such tasks to predict academic performance.