The Relationship of the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory to Academic Difficulty
Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to examine any relationships between the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) and academic outcomes in a sample of entry-level PT and OT students enrolled in a hybrid-online clinical neuroscience course. It was hypothesized that time management, motivation, and self-testing strategies would show a positive relationship to academic performance, and anxiety a negative relationship. Number of Subjects: N = 34 third-term PT (N=20) and second-term OT (N=14) students from the University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences participated in this study in the Spring of 2019. Materials and Methods: This study utilized a cross-sectional and correlational design. Informed consent was obtained and the LASSI was self-administered by PT and OT students at the beginning of the term. Using IBM SPSS v.25, non-parametric analyses were utilized to detect relationships due to a violation in statistical assumptions of the data set. Results: N=34 students (9[26.5%] male, 25[73.5%] female) (20 PT, 14 OT) completed the LASSI. The LASSI scales of Information Processing (r = -0.43; p<0.01), Self-Testing (r = -0.36; p<0.05), and Test Strategies (r = 0.32; p<0.05) displayed modest statistically significant negative relationships to final course grade; and also to cumulative professional GPA (r = -0.43; p<0.01), (r = -0.30; p<0.05), and (r = 0.29; p<0.05), respectively. No significant relationships were detected between the LASSI scales and examination averages. Conclusions: In large part, few significant relationships were identified. Interestingly, the LASSI scales of information processing, self-testing, and test strategies appear to be modestly related to academic difficulty, indicating strengths in these scales are associated with lower grades. This contradicts prior findings and may indicate that certain scales of the LASSI are better for detecting academic difficulty in this sample population. The degree to which the LASSI scales are related to academic outcomes in PT and OT students is still poorly understood. Future studies should examine the LASSI in prospective studies and interrogate the diagnostic utility of the measurement in this population. Clinical Relevance: The LASSI is a highly studied assessment of learning strategies. This measurement may be able to help educators identify strategies that are related to academic difficulty. The LASSI may have practical utility in the realm of PT and OT education and warrants further investigation.