The Effect of Field Dependent/Field Independent Cognitive Styles and Motivational Styles on Students’ Conceptual Understanding about Force and Motion

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of some psychological factors including field dependent/field independent cognitive styles and motivational styles on freshman students’ conceptual understanding of force and motion concepts measured by different assessment techniques. The participants of this study consisted of 173 first year students (male=57, female=116) who were enrolled in Science Education Programme in two universities. At the beginning of the introductory mechanics course, the Group Embedded Figures Test and Motivational Styles Questionnaire were administered to identify students’ Field Dependent (FD)/Field Independent (FI) cognitive styles and motivational styles (curious, conscious, achiever and social) respectively. At the end of instruction regarding force and motion concepts, a multiple choice test and open ended questions were administered to probe students’ conceptual understanding of force and motion concepts. Conceptual understanding of students who had FD and FI cognitive styles was compared by using independent samples t-test and that of those who had different motivational styles was compared by using one-way ANOVA. The results of this study indicated that there was no statistically significant mean differences between students who had different motivational styles in terms of their conceptual understanding measured by both multiple choice test and open ended questions. Although no significant mean difference was observed between students who had FI and FD cognitive styles in terms of their conceptual understanding measured by multiple choice test, a significant mean difference was found between their conceptual understandings measured by open ended items. This result may appear due to differences in cognitive processes demanded by different question formats. It is suggested that multiple formats of assessment tools should be used to withdraw the confounding influence of cognitive styles on students’ scores measured by different assessment tools.


Keywords: Motivational Style, Cognitive Style, Assessment Tools, Force and Motion Concepts
Stream: Technology in Learning; Maths, Science and Technology Learning
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Effect of Field Dependent/Field Independent Cognitive Styles and Motivational Styles on Students’ Conceptual Understanding about Force and Motion, The


Sedat Karacam

Researcher, Teacher Education, Ministry of Education
Ankara, Turkey

I am a Ph.D. student at Gazi University located in Turkey. I also work as a researcher at the Ministry of Education. At this time I collected the data of my dissertation and I am in the process of analyzing my data. My study is about analyzing the cognitive and metacognitive strategies that students use in answering multiple choice and open-ended type of questions. I also investigate the effect of cognitive and motivational styles of students on their performance measured by different assessment tools.

Assist. Prof. Nejla Yuruk

Faculty member, Science Education Programme, Gazi University
Ankara, Turkey

I am an Assistant Professor at the Science Education Programme at the Gazi University located in Turkey. I am interested in teacher education and the effects of metaconceptual processes on the changes in students' conceptions.

Ref: L09P0209