Title

Cognitive Styles of Functionally Illiterate Adults

Date of Award

1990

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Willie Lee Pierce

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The primary goal of this study was to complete a systematic investigation of the cognitive style predispositions of adults enrolled in selected literacy programs. A secondary goal was to provide supporting evidence for the premise that literacy instruction should be based upon, among other things, the cognitive style predispositions of adult students and the appropriate student/tutor matching in one-on-one situations. This study examined relationships between cognitive style preference and age, race, sex, reading level skills and years in school. During the spring and summer of 1989, 140 student/tutor sets were tested using the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT). The student subset was comprised of functionally illiterate adults enrolled in approved literacy programs within the states of Mississippi and Louisiana, and had a descriptive profile as follows: a mean age of 37 years; an average of 7.1 years of school completed; an average reading skill at the 2.6 grade level and a mean GEFT score of 2.6. The racial composition included 52.9% blacks, 37.8% whites, 4.2% Asians, and 5.1% Hispanics, American Indians and Micronesians. The gender ratio was 54% females to 46% males. Subsequent analyses of the data collected resulted in the following conclusions: the cognitive style predisposition of functionally illiterate adults is that of field dependence; there is no significant relationship between age, race, reading level skills, years in school and the cognitive style predisposition of field dependence; and there is no significant relationship between cognitive style predisposition and sex.