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Title: Understanding the role of metacognition and working memory in maths achievement
Author: Walker, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 5039
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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Recent increases in youth unemployment have driven reforms to educational provision. This has created an increased focus on gaining a formal qualification in maths because it affects access to jobs/course places. These governmental reforms have placed a heightened responsibility on schools to provide appropriate interventions to meet pupils’ needs. Theoretical models developed to understand what affects maths achievement have highlighted the importance of providing appropriate learning opportunities to develop requisite cognitive skills of Working Memory (WM) and Metacognition (MC). Support has been found for these models through correlational research demonstrating the link between WM, MC and maths. Studies have also shown that anxiety, both general and maths specific can interact with WM and MC to affect performance in maths. A review of research indicated that WM training and MC interventions delivered in a maths context can contribute to improved maths achievement, however none of these studies considered the effect of anxiety. The current empirical study examined the effect on 13 and 14 year olds’ maths achievement of WM training (CogMed) and a MC intervention (in the form of one-to-one tutoring). Maths achievement, WM, MC and anxiety (maths and general) were measured at pre, post and follow-up (8 weeks) to explore their contribution to maths achievement. Significant improvements for both intervention groups from pre to post and from pre to follow-up were found for WM and maths achievement. A significant reduction in maths anxiety was found in both groups over the same timescale, but there were no significant changes in MC or general anxiety. Evidence was found for a link between changes in WM and general anxiety and a link between changes in MC and maths anxiety. Results are discussed in relation to understanding what factors are important in the observed changes, and implications for educational interventions are considered.
Supervisor: Hadwin, Julie ; Richards, Helen J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; LC Special aspects of education ; QA Mathematics ; RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry