Paper Example: The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)

Paper Type:  Course work
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1582 Words
Date:  2022-07-29

Authors: Yi-Guang Lin, Stuart Karabenick, Moshe Naveh-Benjamin, Donna Kempf, Terry Crooks, Carol Weiss, Susan Reiter, and Robert DoljanacPublisher and date of publication: The publisher is Ann Arbor, National Center for Research to Improve PostsecondaryTeaching and Learning. The Publication date is the year 1991

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The MSLQ is based on two major parameters, that is, the learning strategies and the general view of motivation. The instrument is designed to contain two major sections, that is the learning strategies section and the motivation section. The motivation section contains thirty-one items that are vital in assessing the students' values and goal beliefs in the particular course. On the other hand, the learning strategies section also contains thirty-one items that address the students' use of various metacognitive and cognitive strategies (Pintrich, 1991). The learning strategies section also contains nineteen items that concern the way students manage the various resources. Some of the important components of the instrument include the demographic sheet, fact sheet, the questionnaire, feedback form, appendix, and references. The motivation scales of the instrument include Value Components, Expectancy Components, and Effective Components. On the other hand, the learning strategies scales include Cognitive and Metacognitive Strategies and Resource Management Strategies. The components of learning strategies scales and motivation scales are further subdivided into smaller components that make them complete.


One of the ways in which college students' are being assessed on Motivational orientations and how such students use their different learning strategies in the college is through using a self-report instrument known as Motivational Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. The instrument works in different ways for every college course and is based purely on the general perceptive view of learning strategies and its motive. In the year 1986, Smith, Pintrich, Lin, and McKeachie gave out the general theoretical framework that inspires the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. The instrument has two very important sections such as a motivation section and the section of learning strategies (Pintrich, 1991). The motivation sections assess students' goal and value beliefs in each course since the section has thirty-one items that can complete the assessment. Not only does the Motivation section asses the goals and the value belief of the students, but also assesses every student's anxiety concerning tests in every course and lastly assessing each student's belief on the skills of succeeding in a course.

The Learning strategy section also contains thirty-one items, and the section uses these items to assess students' different cognitive together with the students' metacognitive strategies. Again, apart from the 31 items that the learning strategies contain, it also contains other nineteen items that deal with the assessment of students' management of different resources. The figure below presents the components of MSQL including the motivation scales and the learning strategies scales, which make up the main components of the research instrument (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1993). The highlighted scales in the structure are part of the version of the MSQL known as the Queen's version. The rest of the scales were excluded from the Queen's version.

Figure 1: Components of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)

The motivation scales tap into three broad areas: (1) value (intrinsic and extrinsic goal orientation, task value), (2) expectancy (control beliefs about learning, self-efficacy); and (3) effect (test anxiety). The learning strategies section is comprised of nine scales, which can be distinguished as cognitive, metacognitive, and resource management strategies. The cognitive strategies scales include (a) rehearsal, (b) elaboration, (c) organization, and (d) critical thinking. Metacognitive strategies are various learning resource management strategies include (a) managing time and study environment; (b) effort management, (c) peer learning, and (d) help-seeking. Scale reliabilities are robust, and confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated good factor structure. In addition, the instrument shows reasonable predictive validity to the actual course performance of students.


The instrument has fifteen scales that can be used singly or can be combined as one and be used since the scales are made in a way that they can be modular to any researchers or any instructor. The instrument is designed to operate in a class and should take about twenty to thirty minutes to administer. The instrument should contain a cover sheet and demographic sheet (Pintrich, 1991). The cover sheet is given to the students to voluntarily participate, as they are required to use the cover sheet to describe the Motivational Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. On the other hand, the demographic sheet is optional for students and researchers or instructors can only include the sheet for any additional information concerning the students' background data (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1993).

The eighty-one items on the MSLQ are scored on a seven-point Linkert scale. The Linkert scale is between 1 and 7; 1 represents 'not at all true of me,' and 7 represents 'very true of me.' The score scales are used in evaluating the value and goal beliefs of the students in a particular course, their beliefs regarding the skills they possess to help them succeed in the course, as well as the anxiety about the tests undertaken during the course. The questions presented in the instrument give the answers used in getting the scale scores (Artino Jr, 2005). To get the scale scores, one needs to find the mean of the items making up the scale. For instance, four items exist in the intrinsic goal orientation. In that case, to get the individuals score scale for the intrinsic goal, the computation is done by summing up the items in the intrinsic goal and finding the average. The MSLQ has fifteen different scales that can be used either together or singly (Duncan & McKeachie, 2005). The scales can be modular in addressing the needs of the instructor and the researcher.


According to a report on the testing of predictive validity of MSLQ, Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie established that the nine learning strategies subscales and the 6 motivational subscales represents an empirically validated and coherent conceptual frameworks for carrying out an assessment of student's motivation as well as their use of the strategies for learning in their college classrooms (1993). The report indicates that the 6 motivational scales are used to measure three general components of the motivation of college students, which seem as distinct factors. Besides, the scales for learning strategy represent an array of various metacognitive, cognitive, and resource management strategies. These are reliably distinguishable from one another on both empirical and conceptual grounds. The study by Pintrich and others show that the subscales seem to be showing a promising predictive validity (Duncan & McKeachie, 2005). According to the study, the motivational scales proved relational to the academic performance in the expected directions, and the learning strategies are related positively to course grades (Artino Jr, 2005). The use of the individual course grades in measuring the performance or learning does not give a reliable result. In general, MSLQ seemingly represents a reliable, useful, and valid way of college students' use of learning strategies and motivation assessment.

Multicultural Application

MSLQ can be used in conducting research to compare performance and learning among students in different cultural setups. Independent evaluations can be conducted across the various cultural backgrounds and the outcomes compared to establish the influence of the various cultures on students learning and performance in their college classroom. Multicultural application of MSLQ requires access to data that would assist in getting individual outcomes from the different cultural backgrounds (Artino Jr, 2005).

Summary Evaluation and Critique

The fact that hundreds of researchers from various countries have successfully used MSLQ attests to its validity and reliability in research ventures. The flexibility of MSLQ is another factor that makes it useful in conducting research for instructors, students, and researchers alike (Duncan & McKeachie, 2005). The reliability, validity, flexibility, and wide use of the instrument are the major strengths of MSLQ. However, some flaws, which are the weaknesses, include the fact that it seems to have relatively low-reliability values of various subscales. Partly, the low values are due to the small number of items making up each one of the subscales (Taylor, 2012). That is to mean, in the case of each of the three subscales, bearing the lowest values reliability is reduced. Due to the question of reliability and validity, which is an issue in all other self-report instruments, researchers need to take caution in making conclusions based on the results generated. Using the wrong result from MSLQ can contribute to the false judgment of the ability of learners to perform and learn (Taylor, 2012). This would lead to wrongful mitigation measures in supporting student education. One of the factors that contribute to validity issues of MSLQ is social desirability bias. This is considered as a threat to achieving construct validity in the use of MSLQ (Artino Jr, 2005). However, the measures of response bias are insignificant and do not contribute to any variation in the result. Based on the measurement limitations of the MSLQ, the instrument seems to be less acceptable as a means of assessing students' use of self-regulated and motivation classroom learning strategies.


Artino Jr, A. R. (2005). Review of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. Online Submission.

Duncan, T. G., & McKeachie, W. J. (2005). The making of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire. Educational Psychologist, 40 (2), 117-128.

Pintrich, P. R. (1991). A manual for the use of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ).

Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. J. (1993). Reliability and predictive validity of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Educational and psychological measurement, 53(3), 801-813.

Taylor, R. (2012). Review of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire (MSLQ) using reliability generalization techniques to assess scale reliability (Doctoral dissertation).

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