How memory plays a key role in a child’s development A poor memory is almost as important as IQ as an indicator of key stage one and three outcomes. The research, conducted by Sue Pickering from Bristol University, also reveals that the way eight year old boys and girls tackle mental arithmetic differs.

Girls rely on their working memory (often using their fingers to check) which initially seems to give more accurate answers than the long term memory many boys use.

The method preferred by girls uses up large amounts of space in their working memory as the mental arithmetic tasks become more complex in later key stages, and so girls begin to struggle.

By contrast, the method of recall favoured by boys means they still have spare memory capacity even when the mental arithmetic becomes more complex.

Deputy Head Laurie Johnston thinks this might explain why the girls at Charles Edward Brook School seemed to struggle with mental arithmetic at key stages three and four.

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