Interpreting results of the auditory memory subtests

The auditory memory subtests in CoPS are:

  • Letter names – assesses the student’s ability to associate visual symbols with verbal labels
  • Races – assesses auditory sequential short-term memory

Both of these skills in short-term (working) memory are critical for literacy development, especially for the acquisition of phonic skills, i.e. mapping of letters (graphemes) on to sounds (phonemes), and for the storage of phonological codes in short-term memory during word recognition and processing of text. There is also a well-established connection between reading and memory (Baddeley, 1986; Beech, 1997; Brady, 1986; Jorm, 1983; Wagner and Torgesen, 1987). The predominant view in the research literature is that phonological processes underpin the development of a phonological recoding strategy in reading, and that working memory plays a significant role in this strategy, enabling constituent sounds and/or phonological codes to be held in short-term store until these can be recognised as a word and its meaning accessed in long- term memory (e.g. Gathercole and Baddeley, 1993; Wagner et al, 1993).