Role of Working Memory and Strategy-Use in Feedback Effects on children’s Progression in Analogy Solving:an Explanatory Item Response Theory Account

In IJAIED 27 (3)

Publication information


Elaborate feedback, Explanatory IRT, Feedback effects, Figural analogies, Knowledge of correct response, Knowledge of response, Measuring change


This study contrasted the effects of tutoring, multiple try and no feedback on children’s progression in analogy solving and examined individual differences herein. Feedback that includes additional hints or explanations leads to the greatest learning gains in adults. However, children process feedback differently from adults and effective feedback likely differs between learners with different characteristics or at different stages in the learning process. In this paper multilevel explanatory item response theory models were used to examine individual differences in feedback effects in children’s performance on a computerized pretest-training-posttest assessment of analogical reasoning. The role of working memory and ability level, based on initial strategy-use, were examined in a sample of 999 5–10 year-old children who received either tutoring feedback, multiple tries or no feedback during the training sessions. The results indicate that tutoring feedback leads to the greatest performance gains; however, this was moderated by working memory and ability level. Children who initially used less advanced strategies benefited more from each type of feedback than children who used advanced strategies at pretest. Higher working memory scores were linked to greater benefit from tutoring feedback or no feedback, whereas learning gains in the multiple try condition were not related to working memory. The findings of this study contribute to the growing literature on how to personalize feedback to the learner’s instructional-needs.