ERIC Number: ED151253
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Apr-6
"Cognitive Style" and School Failure.
Anderson, Kathryn M.
Focusing on school failure among lower-class and minority children, the paper reexamines the relationship between "cognitive style" and school performance, and questions whether lower-class school failure really concerns cognitive performance at all. "Cognitive style" is defined as information processing habits which represent the learners' typical modes of perceiving, thinking, remembering, and problem solving. Review of the literature on educational achievement reveals two major categories of cognitive style, usually termed the analytic and the nonanalytic (or the abstract and the concrete). Most developmental psychologists and educators consider the analytic cognitive style as superior to the nonanalytic style. Because many lower-class and minority children manifest a nonanalytic cognitive style, they fail more often in school. Explanations for this failure, often contradictory, do not give sufficient consideration to the situation to which particular cognitive processes are applied. Cross-cultural research on learning characteristics indicates that children demonstrate the same basic cognitive processes in some situations but that these processes are not necessarily reflected in cognitive performance tests in school. The conclusions are that cognitive performance is inextricably related to the social and cultural tradition which produced it, but cannot be directly correlated with cognitive style until further research is done on other variables such as social status, students' fear in test situations, and invalid tests. (Author/DB)
Descriptors: Academic Failure, Cognitive Style, Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Differences, Educational Environment, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation, Failure, Learning Problems, Learning Theories, Literature Reviews, Low Achievement, Minority Group Children, Performance Criteria, Performance Factors, Problem Solving, Social Class, Socialization, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Test Validity, Theories
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Anthropological Association (San Diego, California, April 6, 1977)