CATs can be used to stimulate students to think about
their own learning and thinking processes. CATs related to metacognitive
assessment include study-time logs to self-assess engagement and effort,
diagnostic learning logs to analyze preparation, and exam post-mortems
to assess and plan for specific exam learning strategies. In
addition to using CATs to enhance student metacognition, many faculty
advocated the use of student learning style analyses to alert students
to their own natural preferences.
Learning style analysis
has been historically used for basic skills or college readiness
programs, but new research on learning indicates that is useful for all
students. Several institutions provide access to online learning styles
analysis (North Carolina State, Georgia
Southern University, University of Tennessee, Penn State University,
University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Davis).
Learning style tests differ in their
classification methods but most suggest study strategies based upon the
diagnosis, saving the student time and energy. The two self-assessment
websites below quickly determine student learning
preferences and suggest strategies in less than 15 minutes.
Kinesthetic) by Fleming & Bonwell,
Style Analysis by Soloman and Felder, 1999
One approach is to require students to do the VARK
analysis as homework and turn in a specific study strategy based upon the
syllabus and course outcomes as homework after the first class meeting.
The following class meeting students can be temporarily grouped around the classroom
based upon learning styles. Grouping by learning styles, allows them to
develop study teams by selecting participants with a variety of learning
strengths besides their own.
Inevitably there are very few students that learn best through auditory styles, the teaching modality
they have been most exposed to in college. Examining learning styles
helps students to become aware of, and broaden, their ability to learn
from various teaching styles (Felder, 1993). *The large number of
kinesthetic learners always reminds me of the importance of hands-on
activities, even though they take more of my time and effort.
Understanding learning styles is an
important faculty consideration when choosing assessment methodologies.
Anderson (2000) advocated that, particularly in open admission
environments common in community colleges, there is an increased need to
adapt assessment methods to a variety of learning styles.