Grasha and Reichmann Student Learning Style Scales

Anthony Grasha and Sheryl Reichmann developed the Grasha-Reichmann Learning Style Scales (GRSLSS) in 1974 to determine college students' styles of classroom participation. Grasha became interested in learning style as a psychology teaching assistant at the University of Cincinnati. His earliest interests was in styles he thought to be negative (Avoidant, Competitive, Dependent). He interviewed 50-75 students on their reactions to traditional classroom procedures and found the negative reactions he later labeled as styles. He tried to design his classes so all students would succeed.

To test his ideas, he compared student attitudes in his classes and those of a traditionally oriented colleague. He found his students to be, by their analysis, mor Participative, Collaborative, and Independent than those of his colleague. grasha's original idea was that Avoidant, Dependent, and Competitive styles were always dysfunctional; but other researchers have not always operated on those assumptions and have sought preferred learning methods for all but the Avoidant style (Bonham, 1987).

Sheryl Reichmann used the GRSLSS to conduct construct validity tests. The authors developed classroom activity rpeferences for each style in such a way that the preference almost became part of the style definition. It is proposed that the six styles (Avoidant, Participant, Independent, Dependent, and Competitive) can be changed by consistent use of one teaching method. The authors also propose that students naturally select the most productive style.

The Grasha-Reichmann model focuses on student attitudes toward learning, classroom activities, teachers, and peers; rather than studying the relationships among methods, student style, and achievement, Grasha and Reichmann ephasize the increased ability to problem-solve, communicate with others, and organize materials.

There are two forms of the instrument: one for responses about classes in general and one for responses about the specific class. Each isntrument consists of 90 quesitons with 15 questions per style. Subjects repond to each statement on a 5-point disagree-agree scale, agreement being high. Scale scores range from 15 to 75 where score interpretation indentifies each subject with one predominant style. The assumption is that the scale with the highest score is chosen, without regard to whether differences among scores are significant.

Reports of construct validity account for only half of the items and scoring procedures may not be adequate for purposes of research and theory building. Studies on the instrument's validity are limited and what studies do exist sometimes lack in stringency and care for detail. The theory's focus on college students makes it of limited use in adult education (Bonham, 1987).

On-Line Version of the GRLSS

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    Peter L. Heineman
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