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Intellectual Styles and Academic Achievement
时间:2011-5-4 下午 10:01:38,点击:0

One of the original objectives in proposing the construct of intellectual style is to improve our capacity to explain and predict academic achievement along with other classic individual variables such as ability, personality, and achievement motivation. Since the 1930s, various intellectual styles, including cognitive styles, learning styles, and thinking styles, were proposed and applied in academic settings. Even though there are some controversial issues on the validities of intellectual styles, the validities of most intellectual styles for predicting academic success are largely supported in different educational domains and at different levels. This chapter reviews the relationships between intellectual styles and academic performance in both traditional and non-traditional (e.g., web-based;hypermedia-based;computer-assisted) learning environments. Based on the review, three important controversial issues and two potential research directions are discussed.

Intellectual styles have been widely cited as bases of the marked differences in performance shown by people as they think, learn, or rather, process and use information and carry out various tasks (Messick, 1984; Riding & Cheema, 1991; Zhang & Sternberg, 2005). Most earlier literature provides supporting evidence that intellectual styles have been shown to be an important factor in explaining and predicting students' learning achievement in both traditional and non-traditional learning environments (e.g., Davidson, Savenye, & Orr, 1992; Fan, Zhang, & Watkins, 2010; Saracho, 1984; Zhang & Sternberg, 2005).

Since the flourishing ages for styles research in 1950s, various style labels under the specific categories of cognitive styles, learning styles, and thinking styles, have been proposed by researchers when they addressed the issue of the contribution of styles to academic achievement. The mainstream in the field is to directly examine the effects of students'  and teachers' styles on students' academic achievement by employing common statistical procedures such as correlation and regression analyses. Particularly, the relationship between different intellectual styles and academic achievement is largely examined by the capacities of styles serving as independent variables to explain the variance in academic achievement.

When addressing the relationship between intellectual styles and academic achievement, the contributions of the styles described in eight popular models to academic achievement are very often used as bases of various investigations. They include (1) four one-dimensional style models: Witkin's (1962) field dependence/independence, Kagan's (1966) reflective-impulsive styles, Guilford's (1967) divergent-convergent thinking, and Biggs' (1978) learning approaches, and (2) four multi-dimensional models: Kolb's (1976) learning styles, Gregorc's (1979) mind styles, Riding and Cheema's (1991) cognitive styles, and Sternberg's (1997) thinking styles. The rest of this chapter will briefly review the relationship between the above-mentioned intellectual styles and academic achievement. Three largely unsolved problems will be discussed as well, including the influences of style match/mismatch between teachers and learners and those of style awareness on academic achievement, and the effects of both traditional and non-traditional learning environments on the relationship between styles and academic achievement.

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From Weiqiao Fan & Yunfeng He (2011). Intellectual Styles and Academic Achievement. In Zhang, L. F., Sternberg, R. J., & Rayner, S. (Eds.) (2011). Handbook of Intellectual Styles: Preferences in Cognition, Learning, and Thinking. Springer Publishing Company: New York.

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