Please note that the ANZCTR will be unattended from Friday the 17th of July to Monday the 20th of July 2020 inclusive. Thank you and apologies for any inconvenience caused.

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been endorsed by the ANZCTR. Before participating in a study, talk to your health care provider and refer to this information for consumers
Trial registered on ANZCTR

Registration number
Ethics application status
Date submitted
Date registered
Date last updated
Date data sharing statement initially provided
Date results information initially provided
Type of registration
Prospectively registered

Titles & IDs
Public title
The Effect of Computerised Training on Academic Achievement in Primary School Students
Scientific title
The effects of computerised cognitive training on executive function, academic achievement and fluid intelligence in Year 3 and Year 5 students: A randomised clinical trial.
Secondary ID [1] 285780 0
Universal Trial Number (UTN)
Trial acronym
Linked study record

Health condition
Health condition(s) or problem(s) studied:
Executive Functioning 293663 0
Fluid Reasoning 293664 0
Academic Achievement 293665 0
Condition category
Condition code
Mental Health 293961 293961 0 0
Studies of normal psychology, cognitive function and behaviour

Study type
Description of intervention(s) / exposure
This research will test the efficacy of a computerised cognitive training program. The training program runs 5 days per week for 6.5 weeks with 1 x 20 minute session per day. The training will be completed in a classroom with the researcher providing instructions and supervising administration. Progress of individual participants can be monitored by the researcher using an online portal.

The training program involves the completion of a number of game-like cognitive training programs (e.g. selecting a picture that matches a pre-determined rule; selecting coloured balls based on a pre-determined rule; selecting an appropriate card to complete a pattern).

One year after the training is completed, the whole training process is completed over again using the same procedure as outlined above.
Intervention code [1] 290739 0
Other interventions
Comparator / control treatment
A computerised touch-typing training program as the control group intervention. The program instructs participants how to touch-type using the correct posture and finger position. It is a graded program that begins with the easier keys and progresses to more complex typing tasks (e.g. capital letters, numbers and symbols).

The control group intervention runs in the same manner as the experimental group: 5 days per week for 6.5 weeks with 1 x 20 minute session per day. The training will be completed in a classroom with the researcher providing instructions and supervising administration. Progress of individual participants can be monitored by the researcher using an online portal.

One year after the training is completed, the whole training process is completed over again using the same procedure as outlined above.
Control group

Primary outcome [1] 293734 0
Executive Function Scores based upon 3 tasks each for Working Memory (Reading Span Task; Operation Span Task, Symmetry Span Task), Shifting Ability (Switcher Test, Connections Test, Card Sorting Test) and Inhibition (Flanker Test, Go No-Go Test, Numerical Stroop Test).
Timepoint [1] 293734 0
Pre- and Post-training assessments, then again one year after training this is repeated (pre- and post-assessments & retraining).
Primary outcome [2] 293735 0
Academic Achievement as measured by the Progressive Achievement Tests (Maths & Reading).
Timepoint [2] 293735 0
Pre-training assessment and then one year later.
Primary outcome [3] 293736 0
Fluid Reasoning Measure (Naglieri Non-verbal Achievement Test)
Timepoint [3] 293736 0
Pre- and post-training assessment and then repeated again one year later (pre- and post-training assessment & retraining)
Secondary outcome [1] 311697 0
Implicit Theory of Intelligence measure (survey)
Timepoint [1] 311697 0
Pre-training assessment
Secondary outcome [2] 311698 0
Behavioural observation by teacher and parent of executive functioning abilities (using the Comprehensive Executive Functioning Inventory).
Timepoint [2] 311698 0
Pre- and post-training assessment and then repeated one year later (pre- and post-training assessment & retraining).
Secondary outcome [3] 311699 0
Improvement expectancy measure (survey assessment). This measure has been designed specifically for this study.
Timepoint [3] 311699 0
Given one week after the commencement of training course.

Key inclusion criteria
A random sample of Year 3 and Year 5 students from a boys-only school.
Minimum age
7 Years
Maximum age
12 Years
Can healthy volunteers participate?
Key exclusion criteria

Study design
Purpose of the study
Educational / counselling / training
Allocation to intervention
Randomised controlled trial
Procedure for enrolling a subject and allocating the treatment (allocation concealment procedures)
central randomisation by computer
Methods used to generate the sequence in which subjects will be randomised (sequence generation)
Simple randomisation using a randomisation table created by computer software (i.e. computerised sequence generation).
Masking / blinding
Blinded (masking used)
Who is / are masked / blinded?
The people receiving the treatment/s

Intervention assignment
Other design features
Not Applicable
Type of endpoint(s)
Statistical methods / analysis
Previous research using sample sizes of 20-30 for the experimental group has found effect sizes for near transfer (i.e. working memory) in the range 0.41 to 4.66. However, the same sample sizes for far transfer (i.e. academic achievement, fluid reasoning) have found non-significant (p>0.05) small effect sizes (~0.25). It has been suggested that this is due to small sample sizes and a lack of power. Therefore, this research will use larger sample sizes to pick up the effect of training on far transfer.

Data analysis will determine if there is a treatment effect on executive function dependent variables by using latent growth modelling. Latent growth models use structural equation modelling techniques to model trajectories of change, assess effects of treatment, and consider the relationships among multiple outcome variables and multiple time points simultaneously (Stull et al., 2011). As outlined by Muthen and Curran (1997), the effect of treatment is assessed by comparing the set of trajectories in the treatment population with those in the control population.

Recruitment status
Date of first participant enrolment
Date of last participant enrolment
Date of last data collection
Sample size
Accrual to date
Recruitment in Australia
Recruitment state(s)
Recruitment postcode(s) [1] 9011 0
2061 - Milsons Point

Funding & Sponsors
Funding source category [1] 290342 0
Self funded/Unfunded
Name [1] 290342 0
David Hegarty
Address [1] 290342 0
PO BOX 3082
Dural 2158
Country [1] 290342 0
Primary sponsor type
University of Sydney, Dr Paul Ginns
A35 Education Building
University of Sydney
Sydney NSW 2006
Secondary sponsor category [1] 289064 0
Name [1] 289064 0
Address [1] 289064 0
Country [1] 289064 0

Ethics approval
Ethics application status
Ethics committee name [1] 292046 0
Human Research Ethics Committee, University of Sydney
Ethics committee address [1] 292046 0
Level 6, Jane Foss Russell The University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia
Ethics committee country [1] 292046 0
Date submitted for ethics approval [1] 292046 0
Approval date [1] 292046 0
Ethics approval number [1] 292046 0

Brief summary
This research aims to test the efficacy of a computerised, adaptive, cognitive training program by looking at near-transfer to executive function components and far-transfer to higher order cognitive abilities (fluid intelligence and academic achievement).

This research will address previous criticisms of the existing cognitive training literature by: (a) using a cognitive training program that is more aligned to current executive function theory than previous research, by training executive level processes; (b) using multiple measures for each executive function construct to estimate latent scores of executive functions; (c) using randomly allocated experimental and active control groups that utilise similar computer-based tasks and have the same face-to-face contact time so that a realistic comparison can be made as to the efficacy of the cognitive training program; (d) determining the impact of cognitive training on executive functions, fluid intelligence and academic achievement by following a cohort of children over a period of one year; (e) measuring processing speed to determine if this is a potential mediating variable in cognitive training; and (f) assessing the impact of different training expectancies between the experimental and control group and its impact upon training gains. In addition to these student-based measures, behaviourally- based reports from teachers and parents will provide additional sources of evidence of the program’s effects. Lastly, the potential moderating effect of an individual's implicit theory of intelligence on training gains will be assessed.
Trial website
Trial related presentations / publications
Public notes

Principal investigator
Name 53242 0
Dr Paul Ginns
Address 53242 0
Room 914
A35 Education Building
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Country 53242 0
Phone 53242 0
Fax 53242 0
Email 53242 0
Contact person for public queries
Name 53243 0
Mr David Hegarty
Address 53243 0
The King's School
87-129 Pennant Hills Road
North Parramatta 2151
Country 53243 0
Phone 53243 0
Fax 53243 0
Email 53243 0
Contact person for scientific queries
Name 53244 0
Mr David Hegarty
Address 53244 0
The King's School
87-129 Pennant Hills Road
North Parramatta 2151
Country 53244 0
Phone 53244 0
Fax 53244 0
Email 53244 0

Data sharing statement
Will individual participant data (IPD) for this trial be available (including data dictionaries)?
What data in particular will be shared?
All of the individual participant data collected during the trial, after de-identification.
When will data be available (start and end dates)?
The data will be available as soon as the thesis is published. There is no end date at this point.
Available to whom?
Anyone who wishes to access it via a link within the thesis.
Available for what types of analyses?
Any purpose
How or where can data be obtained?
Unrestricted access via github
What supporting documents are/will be available?
No other documents available
Summary results
Have study results been published in a peer-reviewed journal?
Other publications
Have study results been made publicly available in another format?
Results – basic reporting
Results – plain English summary