Emma (11 years 11 months)

Emma’s performance on Lucid Recall is shown in Figure 10. Emma’s results indicate that she has good working memory. An inspection of her scores reveals that she achieved above average scores for the pattern recall and counting recall task. Her performance was not as high on the word recall task, but still within the average range. These results suggest that Emma is unlikely to have problems with simultaneous processing and storage of information or with remembering information in the visuo-spatial domain. It is therefore unlikely that Rachel will be recognised as having special educational needs, and in general she should perform well in the school classroom.

It is important, however, to acknowledge Emma’s somewhat poorer score on the word recall task. Firstly, it would be useful for teachers to check that a low score was not a result of Emma struggling to read the words during the recall phase of this task. As detailed in Section 2.2.4, word recall relies upon children being able to remember words, but also read the target words and distractor items. Emma could therefore be asked to complete the task again, with a teacher or support worker asking Emma to repeat the words she can remember, and then clicking on these words on the screen to provide a response for her. Using this method the scores will reflect Emma’s working memory, in particular her phonological loop, but will not be influenced by reading ability. If Emma’s score no longer indicates poor performance on this task, then teachers should be aware that Emma may have problems with single-word reading, and needs some practice to improve this skill. If Emma’s score is still indicative of poor word recall, this will lead to several recommendations.

Poor performance on the word recall task, but not on the other tasks in Lucid Recall, usually indicates a specific problem with the immediate serial recall of verbal information. Firstly, it is important for teachers to recognise this difficulty with remembering verbal information. A student affected in this way may struggle with remembering instructions for a task or remembering sentences to write down. Teachers should therefore break down instructions into separate steps, and regularly repeat important information. They should also use memory aids, for example, note task instructions on the class whiteboard. Training which includes appropriate strategies for remembering verbal information (e.g. rehearsing information to be remembered, or forming visual images of items) would be beneficial. One suitable training tool would be Memory Booster, mentioned above (see Section 4.3). Students whose recall of verbal information is weak should also be encouraged to use these strategies with other stimuli, for example to practice using rehearsal when remembering a telephone number or a shopping list.

It should also be noticed that Emma’s working memory processing speed was close to the lower boundary of the average range, suggesting that she works at a slower rate than most other students. This could impact on her studies as she gets older, especially in examinations and timed assessments. It would be useful for Emma to understand this herself and to be given advice regarding working more quickly.


Figure 10. Lucid Recall results Emma (age 11:11).