Untangling the Contribution of the Subcomponents of Working Memory to Mathematical Proficiency as Measured by the National Tests: A Study among Swedish Third Graders

Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist, Bert Jonsson, Johan Gustav Korhonen, Hanna Eklöf, Mikaela Nyroos

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The aim with the present study was to examine the relationship between the subcomponents in working memory (WM) and mathematical performance, as measured by the National tests in a sample of 597 Swedish third-grade pupils. In line with compelling evidence of other studies, individual differences in WM capacity significantly predicted mathematical performance. Dividing the sample into four groups, based on their mathematical performance, revealed that mathematical ability can be conceptualized in terms of different WM profiles. Pupils categorized as High-math performers particularly differed from the other three groups in having a significant higher phonological ability. In contrast, pupils categorized as Low-math performers were particularly characterized by having a significant lower visuo-spatial ability. Findings suggest that it is important for educators to recognize and acknowledge individual differences in WM to support mathematical achievement at an individual level.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cognitive profiles
  • education
  • mathematics
  • National tests
  • pupils
  • working memory

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