Assessment of long-term verbal memory in children.
Beardsworth E., Bishop D.
This study was designed to evaluate the use of a Paired Associate Learning Test (PALT) and a Story Recall test with children aged from 8 to 12 years. 46 normal control children and 19 children of low ability were given the PALT from the Wechsler Memory Scale, and a story recall task, based on Wechsler's Logical Memory subtest, but using stories designed to be suitable for children. Performance on PALT approached ceiling levels for the control children. Both PALT and story recall were more strongly correlated with measures of verbal ability than with digit span. Reliable measures of immediate story recall can be obtained using two or three stories. Many children who are unable to recall a story after a 45 minute delay show dramatic improvement when given a single cue, and it is argued that cued delayed recall gives a better index of long-term memory than uncued recall. Correlations between immediate recall and cued delayed recall are high, and the data presented here may be used to compute a forgetting score which takes into account the level of immediate recall. In the sample seen here, rate of forgetting was remarkably constant across individuals, in both normal and low ability individuals. It is concluded that memory deficits affecting rate of forgetting are rare, but that the test materials described here could be useful for identifying such disorders in children with neurological impairments.