Every elementary school student assimilates information from a teacher (or parent) in a different way. A learning styles assessment test helps educators determine the best way to teach a particular student. Some children learn best through visual methods, like flash cards or pictures, while other students respond to verbal explanations. Still others react to several different learning styles. Formal tests can identify a student's learning style, but so can a cursory observation of the student's habits in the classroom and while doing homework.
Types of Learning Styles
Children gather and process their lessons in three basic ways -- visual, auditory or kinesthetic. A visual learner remembers information in drawings, photographs or charts. They "picture" the lessons in their minds, like remembering numbers written on a chalkboard, for example. They watch the movements and body language of teachers and other students. A child with an auditory learning style recalls conversations, songs and spoken word lessons. They enjoy listening to music, and may show an interest in singing or playing an instrument. A kinesthetic learner has a "hands-on" style. They may wiggle or tap their fingers while sitting at their desk and like dance, gym class and other physical activities. They rely on their sense of touch to learn about an object. They may enjoy working with clay, fixing things, or playing board games. Most students, however, use multiple intelligence; a combination of these learning styles.
Identify a Child's Learning Style by Observation
In many instances, observing a child's behaviour over a period of time will help parents or educators determine the student's learning style without resorting to a formal test. If a child must have music in the background while studying, or recites lessons aloud instead of reading them silently, they are an auditory learner. Auditory students also like to converse with others about what they've just learnt. Kinesthetic learners may run their fingers underneath printed words as they read, or highlight words or passages with pencils or crayons. A visual learner may ignore printed information and study maps and charts instead. They may draw pictures to help them remember instead of writing things down.
Basic Learning Styles Questionnaires
Students in middle grades and above can take a short assessment test. They answer a few questions about everyday activities, like how they pass the time while sitting in a waiting room. The answers help educators determine what learning methods will best appeal to the child. Parents can answer these questions about younger grade-school children and go over the results with the teacher.These short, questionnaire-type tests also work well for teenagers and adults with age-appropriate wording.
Formal Learning Styles Tests
Parents and educators wishing an in-depth evaluation of a child's learning style can consult a psychological testing service or professional tutor. These options offer learning assessments to parents and/or teachers, either privately or through a school-sponsored program. These tests may be especially helpful for children having a difficult time in one or more subjects, as a change in the teaching method can open up a child's perception of the material. The widely-used VARK (Visual-Aural-Read/Write- Kinesthetic) test, developed by New Zealand educator Neil D. Fleming, is available in books, software and online.