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Using the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) to Track Students’ Growth and Evaluate the Effectiveness of a Learning Strategies Course

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-year Programs: Focus on Student Success 2

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Abigail T. Stephan Clemson University

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Abigail Stephan is a doctoral candidate in the Learning Sciences program at Clemson University. Broadly, her research interests include intergenerational learning in informal settings and self-directed learning. Since 2017, Abigail has been the graduate assistant for the General Engineering Learning Community (GELC), a program that supports first-year engineering students in their development of self-regulation and time management skills, effective learning strategies, and positive habits of mind.

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Jon Harcum Clemson University


Laurel Whisler Bristol Community College

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Laurel Whisler is Associate Dean of Library Learning Commons at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA. In this role, Whisler provides strategic leadership for developing learning capabilities through the services and resources of the library and the tutoring/writing center. Previously, Whisler had served nearly ten years at Clemson University as Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction and then as Assistant Director and Coordinator of Course Support Programs in the Westmoreland Academic Success Program. In that capacity, she provided vision and direction for the tutoring and peer-assisted learning (PAL) programs and provided pedagogical and academic success support to the General Engineering Learning Community. She is also co-developer of a framework of rigorously-documented, self-directed collaborative learning called Entangled Learning. Whisler has an M.A. in Music from The Pennsylvania State University and an M.L.S. from Indiana University.

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Elizabeth Anne Stephan Clemson University

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Dr. Elizabeth Stephan is the Director of Academics for the General Engineering Program at Clemson University. She holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron. Since 2002, she has taught, developed, and now coordinates the first-year curriculum. She is the lead author of the "Thinking Like an Engineer" textbook, currently in its 4th edition.

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This Complete Research Paper discusses the use of the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) within a learning strategies course for first-year engineering students at Clemson University. The course is designed to develop self-regulatory, academic, and social-psychological competence for students in the General Engineering Learning Community (GELC), which supports first-year students entering Clemson with low calculus readiness [1], [2]. More specifically, this paper analyzes the course’s effectiveness in improving student learning capacity and study strategy use, measured using the LASSI.

The LASSI is an 80-item Likert-type assessment developed over three decades ago to gauge undergraduate students’ skills across ten scales: attitude, motivation, time management, anxiety, concentration, information professing, selecting main ideas, self-testing, test strategies, and using academic resources [3], [4]. Overall, the inventory has been deemed both reliable and valid for use with undergraduate students [5].

Within the learning strategies course at Clemson, the LASSI is used by students as a benchmarking tool. The LASSI, as opposed to other learning inventories, was selected because of its user-friendly output report and its inclusion of the multiple diverse subscales. Both features allow students to evaluate their current competencies and create improvement plans to strengthen specific facets of their learning approach. Students completed the 3rd Edition of the LASSI [6] once at the beginning of the semester and once at the end of the semester to provide pre- and post-intervention data.

The ten scales of the LASSI were categorized and integrated within the three course units: Habits of Professionals, Habits of Learning, and Habits of Mind. Each unit included strategic assignments designed to draw student attention back to their LASSI scores. Accordingly, reflections on the pre-intervention LASSI scores were incorporated into previously established assignments throughout the semester, including reflections on evidence-based strategies researched and shared by peers [7] and retroactive self-evaluations regarding exam preparation and performance [8]. Though not as explicit, students were also prompted to reflect on their learning and study strategy use in other course assignments, including a series of reflections and discussions on a required book reading [9], the Skillful Learning series on metacognition [1], [2], [10], [11], and collaborative peer study meetings [2].

GELC’s approach with the LASSI went beyond implementation in the learning strategies course. Additional targeted interventions through university partners were utilized with the ultimate goal of encouraging students to take advantage of available resources in order to improve their LASSI scores and overall performance as students. This paper discusses two university partners: a graduate-level student services intern from Clemson’s student affairs master’s program, as well as both staff support and funding from Clemson’s Academic Success Center (ASC).

A convergent mixed methods approach was used to interpret the LASSI scores and related student data to build a comprehensive picture of the experience of students in the learning strategies and professional skills course throughout the semester [12]. Our research questions were as follows: What is the impact of our intervention, the learning strategies course, on students’ learning and study strategies capacity? How do student behaviors and attitudes in LASSI-related course assignments impact gains in LASSI dimensions? In the quantitative stage, a series of paired t-tests were conducted to identify differences between students’ pre- and post-intervention LASSI scores, in aggregate and individually for each of the ten scales. In the qualitative stage, additional data points - students’ reflections - were used to corroborate and elaborate upon the statistical findings.

In addition to reporting findings from the analyses, this Complete Research Paper expounds on student outcomes as a result of engaging with the LASSI and student-specific interventions, discusses our interpretation of the results, and provides insight for future implementation.

Stephan, A. T., & Harcum, J., & Whisler, L., & Stephan, E. A. (2021, July), Using the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) to Track Students’ Growth and Evaluate the Effectiveness of a Learning Strategies Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015