The Effect of Field Dependent/Field Independent Cognitive Styles and Motivational Styles on Students’ Conceptual Understanding about Force and Motion
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
Researcher, Teacher Education, Ministry of Education
Assist. Prof. Nejla Yuruk
Faculty member, Science Education Programme, Gazi University