THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COGNITIVE STYLES AND SPANISH ACHIEVEMENT IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOL

LEONORA DAMIANO, Fordham University

Abstract

Utilizing Hill's framework to empirically "map" students' educational cognitive styles, this study was designed to determine whether there was an identifiable composite cognitive style for "successful" and "unsuccessful" Spanish I students in the secondary school, to distinguish common and unique cognitive style elements for each group, and to identify significant relationships between Spanish achievement and the variables of attitude toward foreign languages, aptitude for foreign language study, and educational cognitive styles of students. Cognitive styles were defined as a Cartesian product of three sets: (a) symbolic orientations, (b) cultural determinants of the meanings of symbols, and (c) modalities of inference.^ The sample included 71 students who completed the first semester of Spanish at an urban high school during the fall of 1985. Four Unit tests and the Mid-Term Examination measured achievement in Spanish. The Foreign Language Attitude Questionnaire and Modern Language Aptitude Test were employed to assess student attitude and aptitude, respectively. The cognitive style interest inventory determined students' cognitive style profiles. These data were analyzed using definitional criteria, the t test for two independent samples, and the chi square procedure. Multiple regression analysis was completed to test the hypothesis of no significant relationship between Spanish achievement and attitude toward foreign languages, aptitude for foreign language study, and the cognitive styles of "successful" and "unsuccessful" Spanish I students. An analysis of correlation coefficients was employed to describe the observed strength of the association between Spanish achievement and the independent and moderator variables.^ An identifiable composite cognitive style for "successful" and "unsuccessful" Spanish I students was found. Common and unique elements within the composite cognitive style maps constructed for each group were identified. Significant differences among Spanish achievement, aptitude, and the educational cognitive style elements of the subjects were determined.^ A significant relationship was observed between Spanish achievement and the elements qualitiative code temporal, theoretical visual linguistics qualitative visual, magnitude, and appraisal. This finding was consistent with the results of the Modern Language Aptitude Test and indicates that students should strengthen the educational cognitive style elements of Q(CTM), T(VL), Q(V), M, and L to enhance success in foreign language learning. ^

Subject Area

Secondary education

Recommended Citation

DAMIANO, LEONORA, "THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COGNITIVE STYLES AND SPANISH ACHIEVEMENT IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOL" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8725673.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8725673

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