Processing Speed: Classroom Strategies

Processing speed is simply the speed at which someone does something. For our students, it involves the ability to perceive information (auditory or visual), understand that information, and then formulate a response, whether oral, written, or physical. For students with slow processing speed, this process can be cumbersome, as it takes larger amounts of time and energy for each step to take place.

Common Signs of Slow Processing Speed

There are many signs that a student may have slow processing speed. However, processing speed deficits can occur in the context of an additional diagnosis (Braaten, 2014, p.26). For instance, ADHD is often associated with slow processing speed. Therefore, it is important that formal testing occurs in any situation where a student appears to present with processing speed deficits. There are checklists highlighting common signs to help educators determine if a student might have slow processing speed.

Alleviating Slow Processing Speed in the Classroom.

While there are numerous suggestions for interventions, working to reduce anxiety and slow the pace of the classroom are important factors. Anxiety, for the most part, plays a similar role in processing speed as it does with working memory: students can become anxious about the fact that they are noticeably slower than other students and are struggling to keep up in class. In addition, students’ anxiety can cause them to become slower in their processing since their energy is being devoted to managing that anxiety rather than processing the information being presented. It is even suggested that anxious students will work toward perfecting the work they do complete, and these perfectionist tendencies, in turn, will slow down their output (Braaten, 2014, p.6). Therefore, implementing strategies and being aware of stressors is incredibly important for the success of students in the classroom.

How Does This Connect To Landmark’s Teaching Principles™?

Research has shown that the more a person completes a task, the more automatic (and quicker) the response becomes (Braaten, 2014, p.14). So, in order to appropriately allow students the opportunity to participate actively and promptly, teachers must follow Landmark’s fourth teaching principle: Ensure Automatization Through Practice and Review. For the full text of the Landmark Teaching Principles™, including “Ensure Automatization Through Practice and Review” click here.

Braaten, Ellen Ph.D. and Willoughby, Brian Ph.D. (2014). Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up. New York: The Guilford Press.


Strategies to Download

For Alleviating Slow Processing Speed




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