Measuring working memory capacity in children using adaptive tasks: Example validation of an adaptive complex span

Measuring working memory capacity in children using adaptive tasks: Example validation of an... Working memory tasks designed for children usually present trials in order of ascending difficulty, with testing discontinued when the child fails a particular level. Unfortunately, this procedure comes with a number of issues, such as decreased engagement from high-ability children, vulnerability of the scores to temporary mind-wandering, and large between-subjects variations in number of trials, testing time, and proactive interference. To circumvent these problems, the goal of the present study was to demonstrate the feasibility of assessing working memory using an adaptive testing procedure. The principle of adaptive testing is to dynamically adjust the level of difficulty as the task progresses to match the participant's ability. We used this method to develop an adaptive complex span task (the ACCES) comprising verbal and visuo-spatial subtests. The task presents a fixed number of trials to all participants, allows for partial credit scoring, and can be used with children regardless of ability level. The ACCES demonstrated satisfying psychometric properties in a sample of 268 children aged 8–13 years, confirming the feasibility of using adaptive tasks to measure working memory capacity in children. A free-to-use implementation of the ACCES is provided. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Behavior Research Methods Springer Journals

Measuring working memory capacity in children using adaptive tasks: Example validation of an adaptive complex span

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Psychonomic Society, Inc.
Subject
Psychology; Cognitive Psychology
eISSN
1554-3528
D.O.I.
10.3758/s13428-017-0916-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Working memory tasks designed for children usually present trials in order of ascending difficulty, with testing discontinued when the child fails a particular level. Unfortunately, this procedure comes with a number of issues, such as decreased engagement from high-ability children, vulnerability of the scores to temporary mind-wandering, and large between-subjects variations in number of trials, testing time, and proactive interference. To circumvent these problems, the goal of the present study was to demonstrate the feasibility of assessing working memory using an adaptive testing procedure. The principle of adaptive testing is to dynamically adjust the level of difficulty as the task progresses to match the participant's ability. We used this method to develop an adaptive complex span task (the ACCES) comprising verbal and visuo-spatial subtests. The task presents a fixed number of trials to all participants, allows for partial credit scoring, and can be used with children regardless of ability level. The ACCES demonstrated satisfying psychometric properties in a sample of 268 children aged 8–13 years, confirming the feasibility of using adaptive tasks to measure working memory capacity in children. A free-to-use implementation of the ACCES is provided.

Journal

Behavior Research MethodsSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 22, 2017

References

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