Secondary school pupils frequently underachieve in tests in which problem-solving skills are required. Meanwhile, brain-based training of working memory (WM) has been shown to improve problem solving skills. We review compulsory school-based interventions to show how teachers can make use of the evidence on WM-training to enhance problem solving skills among students. We conclude that a wide variety of training tasks can be implemented in curricula to enhance reasoning skills.
Based on the review a WM-training strategy is presented which consists of two components:. WM capacity plays a role in short term storing and manipulating information. Meta-cognitive WM concerns the storage of acquired knowledge of problem solving skills in long term memory. Studies included refer to compulsory education courses. The question whether and to what extent basic cognitive functions can be trained and what transfer-effects to domain-specific reasoning can be expected remains a topic for further research.
Key words: problem solving skills, secondary education, reasoning, working memory