We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Joe Elliott

Elliott, J., Gathercole, S.E., Alloway, T.P., Holmes, J. & Kirkwood, H. (2010). An evaluation of a classroom-based intervention to help overcome working memory difficulties and improve long-term academic achievement. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology 9(3): 227-250.

Author(s) from Durham


Two contrasting forms of classroom-based intervention were implemented with 256 primary school children identified as having working memory (WM) difficulties. In one, teaching staff were trained to provide educational environments that were sensitive to the needs of identified children with WM difficulties. The second form of intervention utilized a behavioral teaching approach in which identified children were provided with regular, brief, and highly focused inputs in relevant basic skills areas. A third group of children with similar WM difficulties served as controls. At the end of the year, there was no evidence that either of the intervention programs had resulted in greater WM or academic performance (on Wechsler mathematics and reading tests) than for controls. However, classroom observation data indicated that the extent to which teachers implemented desirable strategies at any time point, inside or outside of the interventions (that is, across all of the research groups), proved to be a predictor of the children's attainment. The implications of these findings for further work in this burgeoning field are discussed.