Testing Competing Structural Models of Approaches to Learning in a Sample of Undergraduate Students: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Tyrone Donnon, Claudio Violato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Current research into studying orientations indicate that students are directed by motives and strategies that reflect both surface (reproduction of contextual material) and deep approaches (comprehensive understanding) to learning. Both are influenced by a latent factor emphasizing a students desire to achieve academically. In this study, the application of Biggs' Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ) is used to test competing models of students' approaches to learning in a sample of 504 undergraduate university students at a major Canadian university, 36o junior – 1st year and 2nd,(year (71.4%) and 144 senior – 3rd year and 4th year (28.6%). In addition to an internal consistency and test-retest reliability analysis of the SPQ, a confirmatory factor analysis was utilized to evaluate the goodness-of-fit of three competing models and an alternative structural model of the motives and strategies of students' approaches to learning. The results provided support for a three-factor model of approaches to learning (Comparative Fit Index =.974). The achieving motive and strategy subscales were significant indicators of both surface and deep factors. The internal consistency alpha coefficient was.82, and 3-month test-retest reliabilities for the subscales ranged from.54 to.73. The results support a three-factor model of approaches to learning where surface and deep approaches are accompanied by a third latent factor reflecting student's approach to academic achievement. An understanding of students' approaches to learning enhances the process of learning and teaching by providing practitioners with an insight into the intrinsic and extrinsic motives for learning at school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-22
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of School Psychology
Volume18
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

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