3.1 Model of Academic Competence (DiPerna & Elliott)
Model of Academic Competence (DiPerna & Elliott, 2002)
The most recent attempt to circumscribe the learner characteristic domain is reflected in the work of DiPerna and Elliott (2000, 2002).  In their Model of Academic Competence (MAC), they defined academic competence as “a multidimensional construct consisting of the skills, attitudes, and behaviors of learners that contribute to success in the classrooms” (p. 294). Academic competence includes the domains of academic skills and academic enablers. According to DiPerna and Elliott (2002), “academic skills are the basic and complex skills that are the primary focus of academic instruction in elementary and secondary schools.  In contrast, academic enablers are attitudes and behaviors that allow a learner to participate in, and ultimately benefit from, academic instruction in the classroom” (p. 294). 
Both the MAC academic skill and enabler domains include narrower and specific skills and behaviors.  The academic domain reflects the acquired declarative and procedural knowledge domains of language-based achievement (reading and writing), mathematics, and critical thinking.   DiPerna and Elliott’s (2000) research led to the identification of four specific categories of academic enabling behaviors—interpersonal skills, motivation, study skills, and engagement (all four are included in Table 1).
According to Keith (2002), the MAC-based research of DiPerna and Elliott illustrates the benefits of using an over-arching learner characteristic framework.  As stated by Keith (2002):
  • "Identifying the most salient learner and environmental factors that affect achievement, specifying a comprehensive model of how these factors influence each other, and determining the specific causal mechanisms that explain the relationships between enablers and achievement will result in the development of a comprehensive assessment and intervention framework for learners experiencing academic difficulty. This framework, in turn, will allow practitioners to more efficiently prioritize learner and environmental factors that may be contributing to a learner's academic difficulty "(p. 295).
Despite the promise of DiPerna and Elliott’s (2002) MAC, I concur with Keith (2002) that the MAC model does not provide the necessary breadth and depth of coverage of potential academic enablers.  The list of important MACM variables identified in this document (see Table 1) far exceeds the behaviors and skills listed in the DiPerna and Elliot MAC. Although the more circumscribed scope of the DiPerna and Elliott MAC framework is necessary when operationalizing and conducting manageable research studies, I believe that a much more comprehensive taxonomic framework (viz., the MACM), including one that subsumes the major components of the DiPerna and Elliott MAC framework, is required to capture the richness of the potentially important essential non-cognitive learner characteristics.