The Contribution of Working Memory to Mathematics Skills in Arabic Speaking Children with Learning Disabilities

The Contribution of Working Memory to Mathematics Skills in Arabic Speaking Children with Learning Disabilities

First Author: Ms. Nada Alghanmi -- King Abdulaziz University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Nadia Jameel Taibah, Ed.D. -- King Abdulaziz University ; Sama Khomais, Ph.D. -- King Abdulaziz University
Keywords: Mathematics, Working memory, Arabic, Early childhood age 3-8
Abstract / Summary: 

The study aimed to detect the differences in the working memory (WM) among normally developed students (ND) and students with mathematics disabilities (MD) and its relationships to arithmetic-addition and subtraction- operations. Fifty-six students (ND 28, MD 28) in G3 performed the following tasks: achievement test WRAT, cognitive test (Raven matrices), WM measure, with its two components: the phonological loop (PL) and the visuospatial sketch (VSS), and the test of arithmetic operations. The results showed that the efficiency of WM for ND exceed significantly for that of students with MD. Hierarchical loglinear analyses for MD showed that PL and VSS explained 89.7% of the changes in the arithmetic operations performance, while for ND, only PL explained 44.3%. Literature showed that mathematics skills acquisition starts with relying on VSS, then it gradually becomes dependent on PL. The results showed that MD depended on both; PL has not developed enough in comparison with their ND peers which forced to depend on both parts of WM to perform the tasks. The results were discussed in terms of instructions and assessment of mathematics skills with the presence of the components of WM with students with MD.