Patterns of self-regulated learning and academic achievement among university students with and without learning disabilities

Date of Completion

January 2000


Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Special|Education, Higher




Research on self-regulated learning has important implications for all students. Evidence indicates a strong link between students' self-regulation of their academic behavior, particularly, their use of self-regulated learning (SRL) strategies, and their academic achievement. Few studies have examined the relationship between college students' self-regulatory behavior and academic achievement, as most research efforts have concentrated on elementary, middle, and high school students. Only one study has identified compensation strategies used by successful students with learning disabilities (LD) in a college environment. No studies have investigated the question of whether university students with and without LD use the same or different learning strategies to succeed in a learning environment. This cross-sectional survey research study investigated between-group differences in the use of SRL strategies by university students and their academic achievement, using descriptive statistics, and multivariate and covariance structure analysis procedures. A new 58-item instrument entitled Learning Strategies and Study Skills Survey was administered to four groups of university students: high achieving students (N = 226), normal achieving students (N = 86), low achieving students (N = 102), and students with LD (N = 53). ^ The results supported the existence of a distinct set of common SRL strategies (i.e., strategies used by the general population of students) and compensatory learning strategies (i.e., strategies used primarily by students with LD). The results of the confirmatory factor analysis provided empirical evidence regarding a six-factor structure on the LSSS survey. The results of the hierarchical regression analysis provided evidence of the incremental validity of the self-regulated learning factors explaining 28% of the variation in students' cumulative grade point average (GPA), and indicating a medium effect size. Hierarchical discriminant function analysis supported the existence of three significant and interpretable functions on which the four groups of university students were separated, providing evidence of differing patterns of self-regulated learning among high achieving, normal achieving, low achieving students and students with LD. A model of SRL strategies of university students was created. Overall, the results of this investigation supported previous findings that, in addition to acquiring content knowledge, students should also develop self-regulatory competence to achieve at high levels in a challenging university environment. ^