Prediction of Educational Psychology Course Grades by Age and Learning Style Scores *

Article excerpt

This study showed how different learning styles are related to objective-type tests used in obtaining undergraduate Educational Psychology course grades. The subjects were 105 university students who responded to four tests which were averaged and used as course grades. The best predictors of the course grade were the students' ages and two Inventory of Learning Processes (ILP) scales scores: Deep Processing and Fact Retention. The Deep Processing scale measures high-order type of items which include analyses, evaluations, and comparisons of information; whereas, the Fact Retention scale measures low-order type of items which include factual information and memory recall. The oldest age group (compared to the two younger age groups) used more skills suggested in study manuals and received higher course grades.

Introduction

The Inventory of Learning Processes (ILP) is a learning style instrument developed by Schmeck, Ribich, and Ramanaiah (1977). Unlike the traditional personality, attitudinal, and cognitive style inventories which measured outside classroom settings, the ILP, according to Schmeck et al (1977), Schmeck (1982), and Lockhart and Schmeck (1983), is based on behavioral-process orientation and used to study actual classroom behaviors. The ILP consists of four scales: Deep Processing, Elaborative Processing, Fact Retention, and Methodical Study. The Deep Processing scale assesses the extent to which subjects critically evaluate, analyze, organize, and compare and contrast information. The Elaborative Processing scale assesses strategies in which one personalizes and concretizes information and translates it into one's own terms. The Fact Retention scale assesses how effectively specific factual information is retrieved from one's memory. The Methodical Study scale assesses study habits and whether one conforms to guide lines given by instructors and/or to suggestions provided in how-to-study manuals.

Over the years, the ILP has been used extensively. Some studies were published and others were not. For instance, researchers (Albaili, 1993; Gadzella, 1995; Gadzella, Ginther & Williamson, 1986; Miller, Alway, & McKinley, 1987; Schmeck (1982); Schmeck & Grove, 1979; Schmeck & Phillips, 1982; Schmeck et al 1977) have used the inventory to determine the relationships between students' learning styles and their course grades and/or GPAs, and how students who were identified as deep and shallow processors and/or high and low achievers processed the information that they studied.

A number of these studies reported the reliability and validity of the ILP. For instance, Schmeck et al (1977) reported internal consistencies of the ILP scales ranging from .58 to .82 and test-retest reliabilities ranging from .79 to .88. Albaili (1993) also reported internal consistencies ranging from .56 to .76 and test-retest reliabilities ranging from .68 to .80. House and Gadzella (1995) reported test-retest reliabilities for the ILP scales ranging from .79 to .88. The validity of the ILP was reported by Schmeck et al (1977) showing significant correlations between multiple-choice introductory psychology test scores and the Elaborative Processing and Deep Processing scales (r = .51 and r = .42, respectively), and significant relationships between memory for concrete words and the Elaborative Processing and Deep Processing scales (r = .35 and r = .50, respectively). Schmeck and Grove (1979) predicted college GPAs and reported the validity of the Deep Processing scale with critical thinking ability and reading comprehension. In 1993, Albaili also reported significant correlation between the Deep Processing and Elaborative Processing scale scores and students' GPAs (r = .39 and r = .36, respectively).

In 1983, Lockhart and Schmeck studied the validity of the four ILP scales with the different components of a course and demonstrated how these scales can be useful to instructors who would like to "conceptualize and account for students' individual scores" (p. …

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