skip to main content skip to footer

Learning Style Preference Among College Students

Hartnett, Rodney T.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Cognitive Style, College Students, Learning, Student Characteristics


The paper describes trends in student learning style preferences and identifies various characteristics of students associated with these preferences by examining data gathered from college students on three different occasions at the time they entered college: at the end of their freshman year; and at the end of their sophomore year. By examining two-year longitudinal data from 2,175 students at 15 colleges and universities, the research found that: (1) most students entering college preferred regular class work and assignments, objective examinations and discussions; (2) brighter students preferred assigned rather than independent work, objective rather than essay exams, and lectures rather than discussions; (3) during the first two years of college the trend in student learning style preferences was away from assigned work and objective examinations and toward more lectures and original research; and (4) the more able students changed preferences during the two-year period toward more traditional learning styles. References and tables are included. (Author/SES) (27pp.)

Read More