3.3 The proposed MACM (McGrew, 2007) taxonomy/model
An Adapted Version of the Snow Model
Although a variety of models of school learning have been articulated (see Haertel et al., 1983, for a review), it is only recently that a model with sufficient breadth and depth has emerged with the potential to serve as a “bridging” mechanism between educational and psychological theory/research and educational practice. Based on a systematic program of educational research, the integration of the extant literature (which included a review of four existing taxonomies; Snow, 1973), and an emphasis on the relatively stable constructs causally related to educational performance, Richard Snow ventured a provisional taxonomy (Corno et al., 2002; Snow, Corno & Jackson, 1996) .
Figure 2 presents a proposed and adapted version of the Snow Academic Aptitude Model (SAAM).  Although the broad strokes of the SAAM are drawn primarily from the writings of Snow and colleagues, based on the contemporary literature review completed for the current document, it was found necessary to modify portions of the model and/or the model’s terminology.  For example, Corno et al. (2002) describe and present learning orientation under the sub-domain of motivational orientation.   Most contemporary motivation research refers to this construct as academic goal orientation (see Anderman, Austin & Johnson, 2002).  In this adapted and extended model the  more contemporary achievement goal orientation terminology is used. Where necessary and appropriate, modifications are made to the original SAAM terminology to reflect contemporary research and writings. 
In addition, a contemporary literature review uncovered specific behaviors and/or skills not included in the broad-stroke SAAM.  These “newcomer” domains were logically placed under the SAAM category that appeared most appropriate.  For example, relatively new research surrounding the construct domain of thinking dispositions (Perkins, Tishman, Ritchhart, Donis & Andrade, 2000) is related to a learner’s ability conception (Dweck, 2002).
The meaning of the MACM variables presented in Figure 2 are amplified by the four categories of questions proposed by Wigfield and Eccles (2002).
  • Do I (does she/he) want to do this activity and why?  Learner characteristics related to this question include, but are not limited to, achievement interests and values, intrinsic motivation, academic goal orientation, and social goals and their relations to motivation.  Obviously, learners who have repeated consistent school failure would, as a group, be predicted to respond in the negative to this question. 
  • Can I (he/she) do this activity?  When pondering this question, learners reflect on a number of motivational self-beliefs (e.g., self- confidence, academic self- concept, academic self- efficacy) that have dominated social cognitive models of motivation research the past three decades.  Although germane to all learners, this question is particularly salient for learners who have experienced repeated academic failure (e.g., learners with disabilities, disadvantaged learners). 
  • What do I (does she/he) need to do to succeed?  High motivation and positive self-beliefs are necessary but insufficient conditions for succeeding in educational environments.  A bridge must link cognitive/academic abilities and motivation with actual behavior.  The primary link is the presence of self-regulated learning strategies (e.g., study skills, cognitive and learning strategies, engagement, adaptive help-seeking) that allow individuals to manage efforts to accomplish their goal. 
  • How do I (does he/she) need to behave towards others to succeed?  Traditionally U.S. schools have valued student characteristics such as citizenship, conformity to social rules and norms, cooperation, and positive social behavior (Wentzel, 1993). The learner who does not know how (or who lacks the appropriate skills) to behave appropriately and responsibly is at increased risk for academic failure. 
Finally, the recent version of the SAAM makes little mention of the domain of social ability, an ability that was touched on in earlier articulations of the SAAM (under the category of orientation towards others).  As noted by Snow et al. (1996), psychologists have historically displayed a strong interest in the construct of social intelligence, which is typically defined as the ability to act wisely in interpersonal relations and being sensitive towards others (Thorndike, 1920).   Educators and researchers have consistently demonstrated the importance of prosocial behavior and social skills to learner success (O'Sullivan & Guilford, 1975; Wentzel, 1989). 
Social ability has two primary dimensions: “the ability to decode social information, including the ability to understand nonverbal cues and make accurate social inferences, and the ability to behave adaptively and effectively in social situations” (Snow et al., 1996, p. 278).  These two dimensions roughly correspond to the cognitive (internal mental processes) and behavioral (observable behaviors) components of social functioning.  As presented in Figure 2 (a larger and more readable version of Figure 2 can be found in the "Key Tables and Figures" section of this document/resource), a cognitive-behavioral social ability distinction is made in the model.  .