Meet the author > Tracy Packiam Alloway

Meet the author: Tracy Packiam Alloway

Tracy Packiam AllowayTracy Packiam Alloway is the Director of the Centre for Memory and Learning in the Lifespan at the University of Stirling, UK, which aims to bring academic research into neuropsychology, developmental psychology, health, and education to the wider public’s attention.

Since graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, Tracy Alloway has lead the way with extensive research into the way working-memory impacts upon our ability to learn; with a particular focus on the effects that working memory has on both typically developing children and those affected by ADHD, autism, language impairments, dyspraxia, and learning disabilities.

Tracy has led on a number of government-funded projects on working memory, shares her expertise with the World Bank on the impact of memory and learning in deprived populations, and collaborated on a number of international projects that examine the variables that can effect the assessment of working-memory in children.

These have included research into whether assessments are culture-fair, and whether a child’s background can impact upon the relationship between working memory and learning. She has worked with educational professionals, including educational psychologists, learning support coordinators, head teachers and classroom teachers in her research on working memory and learning.


The world’s first standardised working-memory assessments

Tracy Alloway has written numerous academic articles and books on how children learn. In 2007, the world’s first standardised working-memory test - developed by Tracy Alloway - the Automated Working Memory Assessment, was published by Pearson Assessment.

This computer-based assessment of working memory skills provides teachers and educational psychologists with a practical and convenient way to screen for significant working memory problems, from childhood through to young adulthood. Innovative and user-friendly, the AWMA was part of a government-funded project which screened over 4,000 children in the UK for working memory impairments.

The research that continues to inform this assessment has attracted vast international media attention, including coverage on BBC TV and Radio: and the Today Programme, Reuters, Sky News and Scientific America. The AWMA has now been translated into over 15 languages.

Recently, in 2009, Tracy Alloway was appointed the winner of the prestigious Joseph Lister Award by the British Science Association for bringing her scientific discoveries to a wide audience.



Working Memory Rating Scale (WMRS)

In 2008, a second assessment the Working Memory Rating Scale was published by Pearson Assessment. Developed by Tracy Alloway, Susan Gathercole (recipient of the British Psychological Society's President's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge), and Hannah Kirkwood, the WMRS is a behavioural rating scale developed for teachers to facilitate easy identification of children with working memory deficits.

The WMRS will increase the chances of detecting children whose memory is a source difficulty enabling further support to be implemented. Through her research, Tracy Alloway has highlighted how poor working memory skills in the early years of education are effective predictors of poor scholastic attainments.


Tracy Alloway's blog

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