The Applied Learning Skills InventoryTM (ALSI) was developed based on the real life challenges students face when attending courses in the both the two- and four-year higher education systems in the U.S.
- Derived directly from interviews with more than 3,200 students and requirements for 1,500 college level courses over more than 10 years.
- Asks students about the real-life skills, habits, and perspectives needed to be successful in college, then expresses these in logical categories (scales and subscales) for an easy understanding of results. The ALSI is unique in that it is based on the higher education system itself, on the actual skills needed to be successful there, and is not theoretical but applied in its perspective.
- The ALSI is designed primarily as a problem identification tool to be used as the basis for intervention to improve student grades.
- Applications of the ALSI inventory include early alert efforts, first-year programs, academic probation and suspension programs, college learning centers, and more.
- The ALSI conceptualizes essential success areas in terms of applied skills, which are core academic areas needed for college achievement, such as completing required readings, writing papers, preparing for exams, and others. It also considers supportive skills that a student needs for college success, such as the ability to work independently, effectively eliciting help when needed, knowing how to stay productive, being motivated to learn, and many other areas that support the implementation of academic skills.
The Applied Learning Skills InventoryTM organizes content areas in to 12 scales and 6 subscales. The 12 scales are broad categories of student skills needed to succeed in college level courses. ALSI scales include:
- Reading and Studying
- Test Preparation
- Test Taking
- Papers and Writing
- Seeking Guidance On Efforts
- Control Over Academic Life
- Being Proactive
- Motivation For Learning
- Values And Beliefs
- Academic Interest
- Work Style
Screen shot of actual ALSI scales:
The ALSI subscales are secondary areas important to student success that occur across the many individual scales. The 6 subscales summarize supportive skill areas that can directly enhance or hurt a student’s academic performance. ALSI subscales include:
- Learning Skills
- Understanding College Expectations
- Asking For Help
- Pre-College Preparedness
- Engagement In Learning
Screen shot of actual ALSI subscales:
The Applied Learning Skills InventoryTM also includes 4 specialized scales that are meant to identify areas of concern that may need further exploration. These act as “red flag” scales that elevate in response to incorrectly answered questions, and are meant to identify areas that should be further examined. The ALSI special scales include:
- College Skills Concerns
- Advising Concerns
- College Environment Concerns
- Student Stress
Screen shot of actual ALSI specialized scales:
While the scales, subscales, and special scales show general patterns of strengths and weaknesses, specific question responses will show the more precise problems that the student is encountering. The ALSI format allows an Advisor, Tutor, or other person helping the student to identify specific problems indicated by a direct examination of their responses. This question-level of analysis brings the most precise understanding of a student’s challenges and can be a strong basis for targeted intervention.
Built In Intervention Functions
Each scale, subscale, and special scale has a detailed description of the topics included in that area. This allows the student and their Advisor, Tutor, or other person helping them to understand what issues must be addressed if the student earns a low score in that area.
Each correct answer has an explanation that discusses what successful students do for a particular topic, which serves an important student self-help function that teaches the right skills or approach for a given topic.
Where appropriate, general referral statements are made within the answer explanations. For example, for a question pertaining to study skills, a referral statement of “those wishing to learn more about this may contact their school’s Learning Center” may be included. This gives the student guidance about next steps to take if they wish to improve in a specific area.
The Applied Learning Skills InventoryTM takes a brief 15-20 minutes for students to complete. It is in a simple true-false format with instant scoring, and students can download the results upon completion.