Angus Duff,  University of Paisley,  UK

Abstract: This paper presents: first, some evidence of the psychometric properties of a 30-item sort-form of the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory (RASI) (Tait and Entwistle, 1995); second, the relationship between scores obtained on the RASI and academic performance in four different forms of academic assessments; third, the relationship between RASI scores and background variables such as age, gender and prior education; and fourth, tests for any relationship between background variables and academic performance.  The investigation samples three cohorts of a part-time MBA programme (N=75) delivered by a mix of distance learning and face-to-face contact.   No previous work using the RASI or its predecessor, the Approaches to Studying Inventory (ASI) has sampled postgraduate business students.  Satisfactory internal consistency reliability of scores obtained on the RASI is indicated by alpha coefficients of .80 to .84.  Confirmatory factor analysis provides support for: the unidimensionality of the three dimensions of the instrument, and the hypothesised three factor model.  Similar to other investigations utilising the ASI/RASI, age is positively correlated with scores on the Deep Approach.  Analysis of variance revealed no effects were noted across cohorts.  However, similar to prior research utilising the RASI (Duff, 1999; Sadler-Smith, 1996), women students scored higher than their male counterparts on Surface Approach.  A structural equation model was developed to relate scores on the four assessments to the three dimensions of the RASI.   The model predicted 35% of the variance of students' scores on coursework assignments and 17% on a business planning report.  However, the model was a poor predictor of examination performance and an oral presentation.  Similar to other research utilising the ASI/RASI, academic performance was positively associated with the adoption of a Strategic Approach and negatively associated with a Surface Approach.   However, unlike other studies, a negative relationship was found between Deep Approach and academic performance.  The implications of these results for MBA teachers and educational researchers are discussed.

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