Do first year DPT student study skills improve in the first year as demonstrated by a pre and post administration of the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI, 3rd ed.)?
Purpose: The transition from an undergraduate program to a lock step graduate professional program may be difficult for students. Study skills and strategies utilized in undergraduate programs may no longer be effective means for learning, retaining and scaffolding knowledge in a physical therapy program that relies on student’s successful and timely learning in multiple courses before moving along with the entire cohort to the next set of courses. The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory 3rd Edition (LASSI, 3rd ed.) is a diagnostic and prescriptive tool to assess and provide feedback on ten skills related to learning in a post-secondary education student. The purpose of this research is to determine if the LASSI 3rd ed. is a useful tool for assessing the learning and study strategies of 1st year Doctor of Physical Therapy students, and if there are any changes in these strategies between the beginning and end of the 1st year of this graduate level program.Methods/Description: As part of coursework, 1 cohort of DPT students took the online LASSI 3rd ed. anonymously in the first week of the DPT curriculum. Results were released to the students via personal email from the test taking company. An anonymous and voluntary survey was provided at the end of the course to ask about the benefits or drawbacks of taking the LASSI 3rd ed. and its impact on learning and study strategies. At the end of the 1st year of the DPT curriculum, the students were asked to anonymously and voluntarily retake the LASSI 3rd ed. and the original survey anonymously. PRE and POST-test percentiles for all 10 independent variables were compared.Results/Outcomes: A Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test was performed to compare the paired samples PRE vs. POST-test for all the percentile-based dependent variables. Of the 10 total skills assessed, Anxiety, Information Processing, Motivation, Selecting the Main Ideas and Test Taking Strategies demonstrated significant improvements at the Post-test. (P < 0.05)Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: We found that there was significant improvements in 5 of the 10 skills inventoried at the end of the 1st year of the DPT curriculum as compared to the beginning at enrollment. There may be a natural progression in these skills with acclimation to a graduate level program. We may be able to utilize this data for comparison to students who do not make similar gains in these areas to provide focused resources and support to ensure success in a DPT program and improve board exam pass rates and scores after graduation. The LASSI 3rd ed. may be a useful tool for assessing the learning and study strategies of 1st year Doctor of Physical Therapy students as well as determining ways to more meaningfully remediate students who need assistance. As our students enter the ground level of our profession, we have tools to assist in their development and success.References: 1. West C, Kurz T, Smith S, Graham L. Are study strategies related to medical licensing exam performance? Int J Med Educ. 2014;5:199-204. 2. Schutz CM, Gallagher ML, Tepe RE. Differences in Learning and Study Strategies Inventory Scores Between Chiropractic Students With Lower and Higher Grade Point Averages. J Chiropr Educ. 2011;25(1):5-10. 3. DiBartola LM. The Learning Style Inventory challenge: teaching about teaching by learning about learning. J Allied Health. 2006;35(4):238-245. 4. Khalil MK, Williams SE, Gregory Hawkins H. Learning and study strategies correlate with medical students’ performance in anatomical sciences. Anat Sci Educ.:n/a-n/a. 5. Khalil MK, Hawkins HG, Crespo LM, Buggy J. The Relationship Between Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) and Academic Performance in Medical Schools. Med Sci Educ. 2017;27(2):315-320.