The Memory Maestros (MM) study, commenced in 2012, investigated working memory in children recruited in Grade 1 from 44 schools across metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. MM has two components:

  • An observational cohort study, following 1802 children over 24 months, examining the relationship between working memory development and educational outcomes.
  • A nested population based RCT of a working memory intervention, involving 452 children with low working memory. Participating children were identified as having low working memory by screening the MM cohort. The trial compared cognitive training using a school-based computerised working memory program with usual classroom teaching, and examined functional outcomes at 6, 12 and 24 months.

Conclusions from the MM study led to recommendations being provided to the Victorian Department of Education and Training about the efficacy of using adaptive working memory training interventions within schools and dissemination of information to departments within the Royal Children’s Hospital who provide support for children with learning difficulties.

Study Summary
Study name Memory Maestros
Study abbreviation MM
Current principal investigator/s A/Prof Gehan Roberts
Prof Melissa Wake
Prof Susan Gathercole
A/Prof Lisa Gold
Prof Peter Anderson
Current project manager Dr Jon Quach
Primary Institution Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Collaborating Institution/s The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
University of York, England
Deakin University
Major funding sources NHMRC
Study website
Key reference for study (published study protocol) Rickards, F., Mensah, F., Ainley, J., Gathercole, S. and Wake, M. (2011). Can improving working memory prevent academic difficulties? A school based randomised controlled trial. BMC Pediatr, 11: 57. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-11-57

Roberts, G., Quach, J., Spencer-Smith, M., Anderson, P.J., Gathercole, S., Gold, L., Sia, K.L., Mensah, F., Rickards, F., Ainley, J. and Wake, M. (2016). Academic Outcomes 2 Years After Working Memory Training for Children With Low Working Memory: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatr, 170(5): e154568. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4568

Are data available to others outside study team? Yes
Study focus (e.g. social development) Working memory
Sampling frame Observational cohort: Children in grade 1 classrooms from 44 schools in metropolitan Melbourne (Australia)
RCT: Those children from the observational cohort screened as having low working memory
Study type (e.g. randomised control trial, cohort, case-control) An observational cohort with a nested RCT
Year commenced 2012
Ongoing recruitment? No
Commencement sample (N) Whole cohort: 1802
RCT sub-sample: 452
Intergenerational (e.g. offspring)? No
Imaging (e.g. fMRI, ultrasound, retinal photograph)? No
Linkage (e.g. BioGrid, VPDC, NAPLAN, Medicare)? Grade 3 NAPLAN
Guthrie card
Biosamples (e.g. buccal, blood, hair)? Saliva
Ethics approvals or requirements (e.g. specific, extended, unspecified, other)? All data consent are specific and extended consent

Principal Investigator

Professor Melissa Wake

Project Manager

Dr Jon Quach

Study Contact

Dr Jon Quach

+613 9345 4812

Postal Address

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
50 Flemington Rd
PARKVILLE, Victoria, 3052