Abstract

Objective: Previous researchers have discussed visual/spatial working memory in relation to math learning, but findings have been inconsistent. Studies to date have not included sustained visual attention as a control, which might remove variance attributable to global processes. The current study examined the contribution of visual sequencing memory on calculation with sustained visual attention (and reading achievement) controlled in a sample of children enrolled in general education classrooms. Method: 51 children (ages 6–14, mean age = 10.1) completed WJ-III Calculation subtest, TOWRE, WRAML Finger Windows, and TOVA visual. Regression analyses testing the influence of Finger Windows on Calculation with reading and TOVA omissions controlled was conducted. Results: Overall, the model including all variables accounted for 33.8% of the variance in mathematics calculation (R2 = .338, p < .001). Results showed that when controlling for reading skill and global visual sustained attention, visual sequential memory accounted for a significant amount, 6.2%, of variance in mathematics calculation (β = .261, p = .041, change R2 = .062). Sustained visual attention contributed 7.5% of the variance in mathematics learning to the model (β = .278, p = .026). Conclusion(s): Previous work has contrasted visual/verbal working memory, but has not accounted for the global influence of attention overall. This study suggests that both global visual attention and specific visual sequencing memory contribute to mathematics learning roughly equally in children without specific learning disability. It may be that in children with mathematics challenges, one or the other of these systems may be implicated.