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School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory

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1 School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory
SMALSI School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory Kathy Stroud, PhD Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD Texas A&M University


3 Rationale Research over the past 50 or more years in educational, school, and related areas of psychology has demonstrated repeatedly that students who engage in strategic learning and test-taking perform at higher levels academically than those who do not. Academic achievement levels can be improved significantly by improving the study skills, learning, reading comprehension, test-taking, and related strategies of learners at all ages and is effective with both regular and special education students. Yet, there are few measures of such skills and strategies. The current workshop describes the development, application, and interpretation of the School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI), a scale developed and normed for use with students from 8 years of age through 18 years. Additionally, examples of techniques for remediating measured deficiencies in each area assessed by the SMALSI are presented and resources designated for locating and developing additional methods for improving student characteristics in the measured areas.

4 Despite 50+ years of supportive science, we are not teaching strategies.
“In reading, instruction in the 11th and 12th grades may not prepare students for college level reading assignments (especially considering the number of college freshmen who enroll in a remedial reading course). A greater emphasis in teaching reading strategies is present in remedial reading courses at the postsecondary level—the same strategies that seem no longer taught at the high school level ….” (p.39) ACT Curriculum Survey: Iowa City IA: ACT (2007).

5 Teaching Learning and Study Strategies Has Many Benefits
Knowing how to study and learn enhances student motivation. Teaching students how to study and learn produces “…empowered learners, and such students enjoy higher academic achievement levels and a wider array of lifetime opportunities…” Gubi, A., Platton, P., & Nelson, A. (2008) Motivating students: School psychologists as motivational change agents. Communique, 37 (4),

6 Constructs The SMALSI targets ten primary constructs which are reflected in the subtest titles below. These constructs are well established in the educational psychology and the general education literatures. They have been demonstrated in literally hundreds of research works spanning at least three decades (for each construct) to be related to academic and educational success. The constructs-subscales of the SMALSI are: Test-Taking Strategies, Study Strategies, Writing-Research Skills, Test Anxiety, Attention and Concentration, Reading Comprehension Strategies, Note Taking and Listening Skills, Time Management, Organizational Techniques, and Academic Motivation.

7 What is a Learning Strategy?
It is NOT what has become known as Learning Styles Learning Strategies are defined as: “The purposeful behaviors of a learner that are intended to facilitate the acquisition and processing of information.”


9 Current emphases in reading instruction do not promote comprehension
“It should come as no surprise…we are frustrated with the over-attention to sound, letter, and word-level processing that characterizes instruction for struggling readers, given the evidence that progress often boils down to a little progress in learning how to sound out words and only small improvement in comprehension.” (p. 523) Pressley et al, 2009.

10 Pressley et al. (2009) go on to tell us that…
“When skilled readers read, they are very active before, during, and after reading in the service of getting meaning from text.” (p. 529) Passive listening to word-calling in our heads does not promote comprehension—we must manipulate information to understand it. This requires the use of a strategy.

11 Theoretical Models for Learning Strategies
Weinstein & Mayer (1986) Rehearsal Elaboration Organization Comprehension Monitoring Affective Strategies Weinstein (1994) Model of Strategic Learning: Skills, Will, Self-Regulation

12 Theoretical Models for Self-Regulated Learning
Zimmerman (1998) 3 cycling phases of learning Forethought, performance or volitional control, self-reflection Winne & Hadwin (1998) 4 phases of learning Define the task; set goals and devise a strategy; use tactics and strategies, monitor, evaluate, and make changes

13 What is the SMALSI? School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory
Standardized self-report inventory for ages 8 years to 19 years in 2 forms Child form: Ages 8-12 Teen form: Ages 13-19 Designed to assess multiple constructs related to Learning Strategies, Academic Motivation, Test-taking Strategies, and Test Anxiety

14 What is the SMALSI? School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory
May be administered individually or in groups, large or small Completed in minutes by most students reading at grade level 3.5 or higher (may be read to others) Yields a profile of T-scores (M=50, SD=10) from which strengths and weaknesses in specific areas can be determined and targeted for teaching if necessary Computer-scoring or Hand-scoring available

15 Flesch-Kincaid Reading Indexes for the SMALSI Child and Teen Forms
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level 3.5 Kincaid Reading Ease Score SMALSI Teen Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level 3.4 Kincaid Reading Ease Score

16 SMALSI Student Strengths Subscale Definitions
Study Strategies Subscale: Selecting important information, relating new to previously learned information, and memory strategies for encoding. Note-taking/Listening Skills: Discriminating important material when taking notes, organizing notes, efficiency in note-taking.

17 SMALSI Student Strengths Subscale Definitions
Reading and Comprehension Strategies: Previewing, monitoring, and reviewing text, including self-testing to ensure understanding. Writing-Research Skills: Researching topics in a variety of ways, organizing writing projects as well as monitoring and self-checking for errors.

18 SMALSI Student Strengths Subscale Definitions
Test-taking Strategies: Increasing efficiency in test-taking, including eliminating unlikely answers and strategic guessing. Organizational Techniques: Organizing class and study materials, structuring assignments including homework and other projects.

19 SMALSI Student Strengths Subscale Definitions
Time Management: Effective use of time to complete assignments, understanding of time needed for academic tasks. On the child version, Time Management and Organizational Techniques are combined into a single scale.

20 SMALSI Student Liabilities Subscales
Low Academic Motivation: Level of intrinsic motivation to engage and succeed in academic tasks. Test Anxiety: Student’s experience of debilitating symptoms of test anxiety, lower performance on tests due to excessive worry.

21 SMALSI Student Liabilities Subscales
Concentration/Attention Difficulties: Attending to lectures and other academic tasks, monitoring and adjusting attention to performance, concentrating and the avoidance of distractions.



24 Who Can Use the SMALSI? School and related (e.g., child-clinical, pediatric) psychologists School counselors and LPCs Educational Diagnosticians **With the Assistance of the Psychologist, Counselor, or Diagnostician** Learning Disability Specialists and Special Education Teachers with assessment training Regular Education Teachers with a course in classroom assessment or tests and measurement

25 Appropriate Usage To use SMALSI appropriately, the user should have a background in education and learning along with training in assessment or tests and measurement.

26 Applications of the SMALSI
• Screening in regular education - Identifying group weaknesses in a classroom or school - Identifying individuals with a lack of or poorly developed strategies for learning • Pre-referral intervention/prevention • Assessing students with Disabilities Learning Disabilities Emotional Disturbance ADHD TBI

27 How Matt Crandell, School Psychologist uses the SMALSI
The SMALSI I have to say is such a great rating scale to be used with students, teachers, and parents. I have been using the SMALSI for initials, re-evals, as well as for general ed students looking to improve their study habits. I have been encouraging our guidance counselors & teachers to first try the SMALSI prior to sending a referral package to SPED.  I also interview the student after scoring the SMALSI and then with the information collected I set up a plan with all parties to improve the students weak areas through AIS services. 

28 Matt goes on to say… Teachers find it useful because it gives them a clear picture of what students know about learning. Parents like it of because they get a better picture of how their child thinks about learning. For students it provides a real eye opener. Some of the items in regard to study skills on the SMALSI, students have never thought of, so the SMALSI also provides new strategies for the students. It makes them think about how to learn.

29 Matt concludes by telling me…
Another positive from the SMALSI is it provides a way to show teachers, parents, and students that SpEd is not always the right answer--many teachers, parents, and students are looking to throw a SpEd label on the problem and not consider other explanations. The SMALSI provides a gentle way to show perhaps other avenues should be explored first. I also use the SMALSI with students I work with privately and have had great results with it as well. Overall, I think the SMALSI is a valuable tool and should be part of any evaluation.

30 Interpreting SMALSI Results
Individual Children 3 Step Procedure 1 Determine the validity of the protocol. 2 Profile and review the scores. 3 Interpret the individual subscales and draw conclusions regarding needed educational intervention. + 1SD=intervene

31 Interpreting SMALSI Results for Groups/Classrooms
Use a Modified Interpretive Procedure Plot means on profile sheet in place of individual scores. Use altered cutoff scores to denote group weaknesses (consider as WNL). Draw inferences for needed group instruction in learning strategies.

32 Benefits of Using the SMALSI
Students who engage in strategic learning and test-taking perform at higher academic levels than those who do not. If you improve the study skills, learning strategies, reading comprehension and test-taking behavior of students, their academic achievement will also improve. This is true at all grade levels, with both regular and special education students. The SMALSI provides a quick, cost-effective way to identify and target poor learning strategies that affect academic performance

33 In RTI Models for Reading, Include Strategy Instruction
In a recent meta-analysis, Scammacca et al. (2007) examined outcomes from intervention studies conducted with adolescent students with reading difficulties. The overall effect size across all 31 studies was 0.95. Instruction in reading comprehension strategies was associated with the largest effects. Scammacca, N., Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., Edmonds, M., Wexler, J., Reutebuch, C. K., et al. (2007). Reading interventions for adolescent struggling readers: A meta-analysis with implications for practice. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.

34 The Intervention Manual Has 3 Sections
Section I: An Introduction to Learning Strategies Chapter 1: An Introduction to Learning Strategies: Assessment and Development Chapter 2. The Research Evidence From the Education Sciences: How Teaching Learning and Study Strategies Enhances Learning

35 Section II: Strategies for Developing Learning Strengths
7 Chapters—one for each SMALSI Strength Scale

36 Ex. Chapter Outline; Section II
Chapter 3. Teaching Study Strategies The SMALSI and Study Strategies What Are the Best Study Strategies? Teaching the Best Study Strategies Teaching Students to Improve Their Concentration When Studying Teaching Students to Improve Memorization Teaching Students to Develop Associations With Prior Learning Teaching Students to Use Self-Talk During Study Teaching Students to Use Concept Maps Teaching Students to Use Multiple Sources of Information Summary

37 Section III: Strategies for Overcoming Academic Liabilities
3 Chapters—one for each SMALSI Liabilities Scale

38 Section III: Strategies for Overcoming Academic Liabilities, ex.
Chapter 12. Enhancing Low Academic Motivation The SMALSI and Academic Motivation What Are the Best Academic Motivation Strategies? Teaching the Best Academic Motivation Strategies Teaching Students to Set Goals and Increase Self-Determinism Teaching Students About Choice and Preference Teaching Students About Participation and Involvement Teaching Students to Understand Situated Motivation and the Impact of the Environment Teaching Students to Unlearn a History of Failure by Setting Up Success Summary

39 Also 2 Helpful Appendices
Appendix A: Web Sites With Supplemental Information on Improving Learning and Study Strategies Appendix B: Reproducible Figures References

40 Examples of Instructional Approaches for Teaching Students to be Strategic Learners

41 According to research summaries from the National Institute For Literacy (NIFL)
■ “Comprehension is the reason for reading. If readers can read the words but do not understand what they are reading, they are not really reading.” [Reading is comprehension of text, not fluency!] ■ “Text Comprehension is improved by instruction that helps readers use specific comprehension strategies.” ■ Recall that strategies are conscious, purposeful plans for accomplishing a goal.

42 NIFL Reviews Denote 6 Strategies for Improving Text Comprehension That Have Strong Scientific Support

43 Science says the following strategies are the most effective.
Teach readers to: Monitor their comprehension Use graphic and semantic organizers Generate questions about what they read Answer questions about what they read Recognize the structure of the material (e. g., setting, goals of content, outcomes) Summarize

44 What teaching strategies are most effective for teaching strategies?
The most effective strategy for teaching strategies is clear, direct instruction that includes 4 components: Direct explanation Modeling by the teacher Guided practice Application

45 Even though these strategies for instruction are the most effective for the most learners, these may not work for everyone ….alternative approaches are available.

46 An Alternative Approach
Describe the strategy Justify the strategy Demonstrate the strategy Specify when and where the strategy should be used Demonstrate how to evaluate whether the use of the strategy has been successful

47 Student Strategy: CAN-DO
Task Area: Acquiring content Process: Create list of items to learn Ask self if list is complete Note details and main ideas Describe components and their relationships Overlearn main items followed by learning details Classroom Applications: This strategy may assist with memorization of lists of items through rehearsal techniques.

48 Student Strategy: FIST
Task Area: Reading comprehension Process: First sentence is read Indicate a question based on material in first sentence Search for answer to question Tie question and answer together through paraphrasing Classroom Applications: This questioning strategy helps students actively pursue responses to questions related directly to material being read

49 Student Strategy: PIRATES
Task Area: Test taking Process: Prepare to succeed Inspect instructions carefully Read entire question, remember memory strategies, and reduce choices Answer question or leave until later Turn back to the abandoned items Estimate unknown answers by avoiding absolutes and eliminating similar choices Survey to ensure that all items have a response Classroom Applications: PIRATES may help learners complete tests more carefully and successfully.

50 Student Strategy: SQ3R Task Area: Reading Process: Survey Question
Recite Review Classroom Applications: SQ3R provides a systematic approach to improve reading comprehension.

51 Wlodkowski’s Model for Enhancing Motivation

52 Develop Strategies for Motivation that Address a Key Q in 6 Areas

53 Wlodkowski’s Strategies
Attitude Strategies: What can I do to establish positive student attitudes toward this learning task and establish an expectation of success? Needs Strategies: How can I best meet the needs of the students?

54 Wlodkowski’s Strategies
Stimulation Strategies: How can I structure this learning task to stimulate students continuously and sustain attention and engagement? Affective Strategies: How can I make the affective experience and emotional climate positive ones?

55 Wlodkowski’s Strategies
Competence Strategies: How will these learning tasks increase or affirm students’ feelings of competence. Reinforcement Strategies: What reinforcement will this learning activity provide for students?

56 Keller’s Model for Enhancing Motivation
The IREO Model Interest Relevance Expectancy Outcomes

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