COGNITIVE STYLE AS A FACTOR IN THE MATHEMATICS ACHIEVEMENT OF MAINLAND PUERTO RICAN CHILDREN

MAXINE E LESTCH, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship of selected maternal child-rearing practices to the cognitive style and mathematics achievement of 158 urban mainland Puerto Rican children. The child-rearing practices examined were: (1) overt maternal control, involving the mother's actual rule- and limit-setting behavior, and (2) covert maternal control, involving the use of more subtle, psychological methods of control. Both aspects of maternal control serve to limit the child's development as an independent, autonomous individual.^ The main hypothesis stated that for mainland Puerto Rican children, the paths of level of maternal control (overt and covert) to cognitive style to mathematics achievement will explain a greater proportion of the variance in mathematics achievement than either cognitive style or level of maternal control alone. Hypotheses 2 and 3 set forth the same relationship among variables for mainland Puerto Rican boys and girls, respectively. Results of the path analysis only partially supported Hypothesis 2 by indicating that, for mainland Puerto Rican boys alone, the total indirect effect of covert maternal control on mathematics achievement was larger than the direct effect. Hypotheses 1 and 3 were not supported by the data analysis results as the direct effect of cognitive style on mathematics achievement was much greater than the indirect effects of both overt and covert maternal control on math achievement, as mediated by cognitive style.^ Study results failed to support Witkin's contention that individual differences in field dependence-independence are related to culturally-based and gender-specific differences in child-rearing practices which foster or limit autonomy in the child. In addition, the results do not support the contention made by various investigators that the positive relationship found between the greater field dependence of certain Hispanic children and their low mathematics achievement is, in turn, related to specific cultural emphases in child-rearing and values. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

LESTCH, MAXINE E, "COGNITIVE STYLE AS A FACTOR IN THE MATHEMATICS ACHIEVEMENT OF MAINLAND PUERTO RICAN CHILDREN" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8423126.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8423126

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