Assessment Tools for Learning Styles

Assessment tools can help educators and students achieve classroom success.

The purpose of assessment tools for learning styles evolved from the premise that all students have unique ways of collecting and organizing information as well as interacting with their environment. Therefore, students' benefits vary according to the classroom's instructive methods. With educators seeking ways to individualize student instruction, various scientific methods emerged, collectively termed "assessment tools," to help educators identify learning styles and effectively tailor instruction. There are four major assessment tools that universities and high schools utilize to help determine student learning styles. Each assessment makes use of various psychometric indicators to help educators identify the students' best learning styles.

1 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator views learning style from the position that learners exhibit a sense of orderly and consistent judgment in perception. The assessment tool assigns an individual score to four categories called bipolar dimensions: judgment/perception, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling and extroversion/introversion.

The test consists of 126 questions which makes use of a self-report inventory on personality and takes 50 minutes to administer, either individually or in groups, and is most often used with adults.

The test is most useful in helping adults determine basic preferences for learning, understanding compatibility with learning types, instructional methods and the impact of environmental factors associated with learning.

2 Kolb Learning Style Inventory

The Kolb Learning Style Inventory is based on the position that learning style is the result of a combination of hereditary factors, past learning experiences and present environmental constructs. This combination produces individual preferences with varying emphasis to four modes of basic learning categorized as: Active Experimentation, Concrete Experience, Abstract Conceptualization and Reflective Observation.

The test is a a self-report assessment tool designed for adults in which the tester will provide four words each in nine different sets. Each word represents of the four modes of learning. The test takes about 10 minutes to administer.

The Kolb test is most helpful in making the test-taker cognizant of his learning style as well as alternative modes of learning. This knowledge can help design effective instructional strategies and enhance students' strengths.

3 Canfield's Learning Styles Inventory

The Canfield's Learning Styles Inventory identifies individual learning styles according to a combination of factors. Those factors are academic conditions, expectation of performance level, content for learning, preferred mode of learning, structural conditions and achievement conditions.

The assessment consists of a self-report ranking tool. Testers will take a 30 question test, ranking the order of choices in each question. The test takes 15 minutes to complete and is administered to people from junior high students to adults.

Canfield's assessment tool helps to develop instructional modes for entire classrooms or for individual students. The assessment is often used to identify student challenges with academics and utilized in school counseling settings.

4 Gregorc Style Delineator

The Gergorc Style Delineator views learning style as a distinct, observable behavior that gives insights into how people's minds function and relate to the world. This assessment tool seeks to identify combinations of associated mind qualities in dualities. These dualities include abstract-random, concrete-sequential, abstract-sequential and/or concrete-random.

Another self-reporting tool, the Gregorc Style Delineator consists of 10 sets of four word choices the test-taker must rank in order of preference. The tests are then utilized to determine preference for mode of learning and patterns of learning. The test is administered from the junior high level through the adult level.

The objective of the tool is to match instructional materials and methods to individual learning preferences. The tool also recommends using non-preferred methods occasionally to help students strengthen weak areas.

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