Models of School Learning: The Importance of Learner Characteristics
Models of School Learning:  The Importance of Learner Characteristics
Inspection of Figure 1 indicates that despite differences among the major models of school learning, significant commonalities exits across the models. According to Walberg (1980), all models specify certain conditions prerequisite for effective instruction, characteristics of the teaching-learning process, and the quantifiable outcomes of schooling with which they are concerned.  In addition, several theorists discuss environmental conditions which include teacher background, curriculum and institutional factors, and cultural context.  All theorists recognize the contribution of certain intrinsic learner characteristics in the form of cognitive (e.g., aptitude, ability to comprehend instruction, prior achievement) and attitudinal (e.g., perseverance, motivation, self- concept as learner) variables.   As summarized by Wang et al. (1993, see Figure 1), the major categories of learner characteristics important for academic learning are learner demographics, history of educational placement, social and behavioral outcomes, motivation and affective, cognitive, metacognitive, and psychomotor abilities (Gerlach, Aaside, Humphreys, Gade, Paulson & Law, 2002). 
Five of the seven learner characteristic domains (social and behavioral, motivation and affective, cognitive, metacognitive, and psychomotor) reflect intrinsic traits or states of the learner.  Although serving a valuable heuristic function for model- based research and literature integration, each of these five learner characteristic categories refer to separate broad and complex multivariate domains of human behavior. For example, Carroll’s (1993) recent meta- analysis of the extant factor analysis research on human cognitive abilities suggests that the cognitive domain alone includes, under a single general intellectual ability (g), at least eight broad cognitive domains and 70+ narrow or specialized cognitive abilities.  Similar broad multivariate taxonomies have been presented in the other broad learner characteristic domains.  The breadth of potentially important learner characteristics (and potential valued educational outcomes) for learners with and without disabilities is staggering. 
Clearly these non-cognitive characteristics are those that should be targeted for assessment, intervention, or that should be designated as valued outcomes of school learning, must be circumscribed and prioritized.  The remainder of this document articulates a model for identifying the non-cognitive (conative) characteristics that should be targeted in order for all learners to maximize their educational attainment.  These collective essential learner facilitators are referred to under the umbrella term of  "Model of Academic Competence and Motivation" (MACM).
An assumption of this author is that the identification of the broad and narrow MACM domains and proposed organizing framework must emerge from the extant empirical research and theoretical literature, and not from the advocacy, policy, nor political arenas.