Date of Graduation
The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationships between the learner's diagnosed preference for structure and the academic achievement of intermediate level students in a unit on energy resources when the instructional environments is congruent with and dissonant with the learner's diagnosed structural preferences. The study also examined the standard scores of an affective learning style diagnostic instrument and a cognitive style diagnostic instrument for possible relationships. Eighty intermediate level subjects of a private elementary school in Weirton, West Virginia were administered the Group Embedded Figures Test (Oltman, Raskin & Witkin, 1971) and the Learning Style Inventory (Dunn, Dunn & Price, 1978) to determine each student's preference for the cognitive style dimensions of field-dependence or field-independence and the student's learning style preference for the element of structure. Using a Non-Equivalent Control Group Research Design, the subjects were randomly assigned to one of two experimental groups. One group worked with the energy resources science unit in a structured learning environment while the second experimental group worked in the less-structured learning environment. Subject achievement was measured by a pretest/posttest administration of a unit criterion-reference test and the science subtest of a standardized achievement test. A 2 x 2 factorial ANOVA was used to determine the interaction between the cognitive style variable of field-dependence/field-independence and the structure of the learning environment variable. The research data revealed two significant findings. The first was that a difference was found in the achievement of students when field-dependent students were matched with their preferred high structure learning environment on the unit measure. However, field-independent students in the high structured environment also showed higher achievement in the unit measure and in the standardized achievement measure. Thus, these findings do not support the theory that matching instruction to learner preference improves achievement. A second finding centered on the high structured learning environment in that all significant findings occurred in relation to the high structured environment. In regard to the relationship between the standard scores of the learning style diagnostic instruments, no significant findings occurred.
RAHAL, BARBARA FRANCINE, "THE EFFECTS OF MATCHING AND MISMATCHING THE DIAGNOSED LEARNING STYLES OF INTERMEDIATE LEVEL STUDENTS WITH THEIR STRUCTURAL PREFERENCES IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT." (1986). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9618.