Institute of Learning Styles Research

Dissertation Abstracts

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Abstract Title

D’Urso, P. (2001). The relationship between perceptual modality performances and short-term memory capacity of developmental Math and English students as measured by the MMPALT and the Wechsler Memory Scale III (Doctoral dissertation, University of South Florida, 2001).


This investigation examined Multi-Modal Paired Associates Learning Test III (MMPALT III) and Wechsler Memory Scale III (WMS III) subtest scores for community college developmental math and developmental English students to determine if there was a relationship between the two instruments. An additional intent was to expand the knowledge base related to learning styles as measured by the MMPALT III. The MMPALT III measures perceptual modality encoding efficiency through paired-associates performance-based testing procedures and the WMS III measures domains of memory and learning in adult populations.

Forty-eight developmental English and 37 developmental math students at a central Florida community college were administered subtests of the two instruments and were evaluated on their perceptual learning modality performance scores on Print, Aural, Interactive, and Visual subtests of the MMPALT III and Aural and Visual subtests of the WMS III.

Repeated measures ANOVA, Pearson’s correlation coefficient, and post hoc tests were utilized. Developmental math students demonstrated higher raw mean performance scores than developmental English students on both instruments overall. There was a moderately high correlation, r = .62 between the MMPALT III visual subtest and the WMS III paired associates trials aural subtest for the developmental math students, and r = .53 for the combined groups on the same subtests. There was a significant difference between Math and English student scores on the Aural and Visual subtests of the MMPALT. Significant differences were demonstrated between developmental math and English students on pictures recall subtest of the WMS III and the stories recall subtest of the WMS III. Cronbach coefficient alpha demonstrated moderate to high internal consistency for both instruments, ranging from .56 to .95 for the subtests.

The low to moderate correlation coefficients empirically support the likelihood that these two instruments are measuring separate although minimally related constructs. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that the MMPALT III is memory based.

Future research could concentrate on the strength of the relationship of visual and aural modalities, including visual imagery occurring in aural testing.

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