Relationship between cognitive style and informed decision making
Grieve, Carol A.
Master of Education
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In this study, the relationship between children's cognitive styles and their ability to use informed decision making was investigated. Thirty-nine Grade Three students in Thunder Bay participated in a seven week, teacher-researcher designed decision making unit. This unit promoted metacognitive awareness and instructed students in a decision making method using simple, logical, age-appropriate strategies. It was the expectation that there would be an improvement in the decision making ability of these students, and that the reflective, field-independent student would perform the most efficiently in decision making activities. The reasoning ability, the cognitive styles - reflective/impulsive and field-dependent/independent, and level of decision making were assessed. The following measures were employed to determine these variables: Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices (Raven), Matching Familiar Figures Test (Kagan), The Children's Embedded Figures Test (Witkin), and the Draw-a-Person Test (Machover). Each participant's performance level was then determined in a posttest situation, and again in a second posttest situation nine weeks later. Means, standard deviations and correlation coefficients were calculated. Results indicated that there was improvement in the participants' level of decision making. This improvement was maintained at the second post test nine weeks later. Results also indicated that Grade Three students' decision making performance may be affected more by their impulsive/reflective nature than by their level of field-independence/dependence. strategies which consider the reflective/impulsive nature of young children and incorporate age-appropriate strategies hold the greatest potential for enabling students to become efficient decision makers and critical thinkers.