Learning Styles Test and Evaluation

Dr. Andrea Chen
Mercy Academy

(Additional Review)

I just had three of my children (grades 1, 3 and 6) tested for learning styles through Mercy Academy. The test is quite simple and has to do with likes, dislikes, ways of interacting and how they think about problems. Older children can take the test on their own, while younger ones might need a little supervision. I was very impressed with the thoroughness and usefulness of the analysis and evaluation given.

Each of my children received a unique 7-10 page analysis based on five different "preferences and modes of learning":

  1. General mode of interacting with the world
  2. Method of taking in information and viewing the world
  3. Center of influence in decision-making
  4. Method of organizing information about the world
  5. Preference for processing information

The author explains the analysis in this way: "The following description of your child is based on hundreds of studies conducted by educators and psychologists over the past thirty years. If your child answered the questions in the inventory sincerely, the following report should sound familiar and will serve as an important tool to help you understand and teach your child. Since all of us were created as unique individuals, you may find that your child does not have all of the characteristics included in this report, but the majority should accurately reflect your child's learning style and personality."

The analysis includes: main personality characteristics, tips for the best environment for them to study in, detailed guidance on modes of presentation and potential intellectual/moral pitfalls, ideas for handling problems they have with learning, and important skill areas to develop. This written analysis is followed by lists of "Key Points to Remember", types of materials that work best, things to avoid and sample curriculum recommendations (with an emphasis on Catholic materials where possible!).

Although any one of my children individually would have benefitted greatly from my application of the results of this test, it was particularly fascinating to have three children tested and compare the results. The entire report is highly customized for each child according to the five key factors listed above. The accuracy of the points and ideas in each analysis astounded me. While I was vaguely aware of the differences between auditory and visual learners, reading these results opened a whole new world and a much better sense of the big picture of what my children need and how I can best help them. (I even learned a bit about myself in various pieces by seeing my own traits in my children!) While some pieces of my children's learning styles were merely expanded and reinforced, there were some ideas that were new to me (like different needs in terms of study environment) that we've been implementing with great success. Some of the types of details that have come up include: need for discussion time with parents, balance between textbooks and more unconventional methods of learning, competition, and pointers on avoiding distraction and frustration for each child.

Reading these evaluations and beginning the process of implementation has been both challenging and encouraging at the same time. Challenging because I can see a number of the pitfalls and difficult areas more clearly. Encouraging because I more fully understand that unusual traits aren't necessarily negative or abnormal, but can be worked with successfully and even beneficial when fully appreciated.

The test and evaluations were put together by a Catholic homeschool mother of 6 with a PhD in Psychology and many years of experience in homeschooling her own children and counseling other homeschool families.

Review Date: 
Reviewed by: