DURHAM CITY, England, March 2 (UPI) -- Student underachievement can be due to poor working memory rather than low intelligence, British researchers say.
Durham University researchers have developed a checklist -- the Working Memory Rating Scale -- as well as tools to help teachers identify and help children who may have this problem, which researchers said is very likely is genetically based.
"From the various large-scale studies we have done, we believe the only way children with poor working memory can go on to achieving academic success is by teaching them how to learn despite their small capacity to store information mentally," lead researcher Dr. Tracy Alloway of Durham University said in a statement.
To help children with poor working memory, the researchers recommend including repetition of instructions, talking in simple short sentences and breaking down tasks into smaller chunks.
"We are already beginning to see children in a different light knowing more about the difficulties faced by children with impaired working memory," head teacher Chris Evans of Lakes Primary School in Cleveland, England, said in a statement.
"We realize that they are not daydreamers, inattentive or underachieving, but children who simply need a different approach. We think these new ways of learning can help both the teacher and the children to successfully complete their work."