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Witkin (1962) field dependence/independence (FDI) and academic achievement
时间:2011-5-4 下午 10:04:43,点击:0

Field dependent people tend to be affected by the prevailing field or context, whereas field independent people incline to see objects as discrete from their backgrounds (Witkin, 1962). According to empirical studies in the literature, significant contributions of FDI to academic achievement are strongly supported in literature (e.g., Bal, 1988; Tinajero & Páramo, 1997), despite some inconsistent findings (e.g., Zhuo, 1999).

Some studies investigated relationships between field dependence/ independence styles and general academic achievement at the elementary (Saracho, 1984), secondary (Kirk, 2000), and higher education (Savage, 1983) levels, respectively. For example, Saracho (1984) found that young children's academic achievement rose as a function of their cognitive styles. Significant correlations were also found between FDI and all American College Test (ACT) scores, undergraduate and graduate GPA, and graduate student career commitment (Savage, 1983).

There also have been many related studies investigating the contributions of FDI to students’ academic achievement in particular subject matters. Specifically, the subject of mathematics is commonly studied. For instance, Abdollahpour, Kadivar, and Abdollahi (2006) found a significant difference between field dependent and field independent groups in math achievement, with the independent group performing better in math. Zhang, Meng, and Zheng (1981) suggested that the degree of field independence was positively correlated with performance in mathematics among Chinese students (r= .42, p< .01). Some other researchers conducted studies on the relationships between FDI and achievement in reading and language learning (e.g., Robeck, 1982; Wineman, 1971). For example, Wineman (1971) found that field-independent children were more advanced in reading ability, as measured by the California Reading Test-Elementary, than were field-dependent children. At the same time, close associations between FDI and students’ learning achievement in other subject matters, such as chemistry, biology, and information management (e.g., Kirk, 2000; Murphy, Casey, & Young, 1997), were also reported in the literature.
Moreover, a number of studies in the literature address a comparatively new issue concerning the influences of FDI on academic achievement in non-traditional learning environments such as hypermedia and computer-assisted learning. As in the traditional environment, FDI styles significantly contributed to students’ general learning performance in many non-traditional learning contexts. For example, Spanjer and Tate (1988) found that the field-independent students achieved higher grades and a lower failure rate than did the field-dependent students in a broadcast telecourse. However, some other findings were inconsistent with those in the traditional learning environment. Ku and Soulier (2009) examined whether or not general versus specific learning goals have a different effect on adolescents with FDI in a hypertext environment, and suggested that field-dependent adolescents performed significantly better when they had specific rather than general learning goals. However, a group of studies concerning the area of second-language learning and reading comprehension rarely supported the significant relationship between FDI styles and academic achievement (e.g., Liu & Reed, 1994; Zhuo, 1999). In general, most studies have reported that Witkin’s (1962) cognitive styles do not significantly contribute to academic achievement in non-traditional learning contexts.

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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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