School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI)

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Appropriate For
Comprehensiveness Basic
Administration Time - 30 min
Format pencil icon
Scoring Options hand icon
Language English
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Measure skills related to academic success in individuals ages 8-12 years (Child Form) or ages 13-18 years (Teen Form)

Poor study skills, ineffective learning strategies, test anxiety—all these things impede academic success. With the new SMALSI you can now measure the skills related to academic success early in a student's school career, enabling you to proactively address weaknesses.

Unlike many other learning measures, the SMALSI does not assess learning styles, preferences, or other process dimensions. Instead, it assesses the actual strategies students use in learning and test-taking—strategies shown through research to be related to academic success.

Designed for both special and general education students, this self-report inventory assesses 10 primary constructs associated with academic motivation, learning strategies, and studies: seven focusing on student strengths and three focusing on student liabilities.

Construct Focus On Strengths & Weaknesses


• Study strategies
• Note taking/Listening skills
• Reading and comprehension strategies
• Writing/Research skills
• Test-taking strategies
• Organization techniques
• Time management


• Low academic motivation
• Test anxiety
• Concentration/Academic difficulties

Scores from the SMALSI scales provide enough information to identify problems that interfere with academic development. An Inconsistent Responding Index is included as a validity measure.

The SMALSI is available in two forms: the Child Form (147 items) is appropriate for students ages 8-12 years; the Teen Form (170 items) is appropriate for students ages 13-18 years. Both forms are written at a 3rd-grade reading level and can be completed in about 20-30 minutes. Both forms use a 4-point response scale, ranging from never to almost always.

Scored by hand or computer, the SMALSI provides multiple scores, rather than one overall score. The SMALSI was standardized on a sample of 2,921 students (1,821 aged 8-12 years for the Child Form and 1,100 aged 13-18 years for the Teen Form). The sample reflects the U.S. population in terms of gender, ethnicity, and parental education.

The SMALSI is a quick, cost-effective way to identify students who may have ineffective or poorly developed learning strategies, low levels of academic motivation, attention and concentration problems, difficulties with test-taking, or test anxiety. It can be used for screening in regular education, pre-referral intervention, and for assessing students with learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, or ADHD.


Windows: 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, 7

Hard Drive Space: 4 MB

Prerequisites: CD-ROM drive for installation; USB port

Qualification Level B:

Tests may be purchased by individuals with:

A Master’s degree in psychology, education, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, social work, or in a field closely related to the intended use of the assessment, and formal training in the ethical administration, scoring, and interpretation of clinical assessments.


Certification by or full active membership in a professional organization such as the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA), the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrics and Psychotherapists (OACCPP), or other North American organizations such as the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), the American Counselling Association (ACA), the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) or the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), that requires training and experience in the relevant area of assessment.


A degree or license to practice in the healthcare or allied healthcare field.


Formal, supervised mental health, speech/language, occupational therapy, and/or educational training specific to assessing children, or in infant and child development, and formal training in the ethical administration, scoring, and interpretation of clinical assessments.

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