Assessment of learning strategies: self-report questionnaire or learning task
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Two types of assessment instruments were developed to assess middle school students’ learning strategies, and their effectiveness in predicting various learning outcomes was examined. The participants were 565 middle school students. Three subscales (rehearsal, organization, elaboration) from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Pintrich et al. 1991) formed a unique Learning Strategy scale. Memorization strategies (rehearsal and organization) were assessed with a specific learning task (memorizing word list). Math and language skills, assessed in Grade 7 and Grade 8, were used as outcome measures. The reported use of learning strategies, measured by Learning Strategy scale, was not related to any learning outcomes. In contrast, students who used memorization or organization during learning task differed in all outcomes. Results indicate a serious need to consider which assessment methods will be used in middle school. In the future, self-report questionnaires could benefit from subject-specific and more concrete descriptions of tasks. Meanwhile, we advise using questionnaire and cognitive behavioral learning task methods concurrently to assess learning strategies of middle school students.
KeywordsLearning strategies Questionnaire Learning task Assessment Middle school students
The study was supported by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (institutional research grant IUT 3-3 and special grant no. 10.1-8.1/933) and European Social Fund Program Eduko (via Archimedes Foundation, grant 30.2-4/549). We would like to thank Anu Palu, Krista Uibu, and Piret Soodla for developing the math and language tests and Teri Talpsep for valuable comments on an earlier version of this article.
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