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Student Reactions to Assignment Structure: Examining the Influence of Cognitive Style
Academy of Educational Leadership Journal (2009)
  • Arthur L. Sherwood, Western Washington University
  • Concetta A. DePaolo
  • David F. Robinson
In this study, we investigated how student cognitive styles affect reactions toward course assignments. A total of 283 business undergraduates enrolled in either a statistics course or a business strategy course were involved in the study. In each course, students were given surveys to measure attitudes toward two very different versions of the same assignment -- one in which the instructions were very detailed and structured and the other in which they were very short and ambiguous. Student cognitive styles were classified as either adaptive or innovative using Kirtin Adaption-Innovation (KAI) scores. An adaptive cognitive style prefers structure and details, while an innovative style is more comfortable with less structure. Differences between reactions of the two student types, as well as differences between the two assignments for each type of student, were studied. Results indicate that students prefer and express higher levels of self-efficacy and less anxiety on the assignment that corresponds with their cognitive style. Additional discussion focuses on how this information might be used by instructors to improve the learning experiences of students of both types.
  • Business education,
  • Business students,
  • Business schools - Curricula
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Citation Information
Arthur L. Sherwood, Concetta A. DePaolo and David F. Robinson. "Student Reactions to Assignment Structure: Examining the Influence of Cognitive Style" Academy of Educational Leadership Journal Vol. 13 Iss. 4 (2009) p. 61 - 80
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