Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD, Director; Wlilliam P. Foster, EdD; Mary Woods Scherr, PhD


children & youth, academic performance, education, eighth grade, modality, preferential learning strategies


This study investigated differences among students' preferential learning styles and their academic achievement. The hypothesis was tested for the total sample population and the subgroups of: gender and ethnicity (Anglo, Hispanic, Asian). Two self-reporting assessment instruments were administered to 200 eighth graders to determine learning style and modality preferences: abstract-sequential (AS); concrete-sequential (CS); abstract-random (AR); concrete-random (CR); auditory (A); visual (V); kinesthetic-tactual (KT). Using GPA categories, the sample population was selected through by stratified-random and systematic sampling. Gifted, special education and ESL students were excluded. Academic performance was measured by GPA and CTBS standardized scores. One way ANOVA with Tukey-Kramer, two-tailed test at.05 was used to determine statistical significance. Significant academic variances were found among students' preferential learning styles and modality groups within the total population and within specific subgroups. Significant variances were observed between the highest achievers (left-brain dominant, AS/A learners) and the lowest achievers (right-brain dominant, CR/KT learners). The men score achievement pattern ranged from highest to lowest: learning styles (AS, AR, CS, CR); modalities (A, V, KT). Students preferring abstract learning strategies demonstrated higher achievement levels than those who preferring concrete. Among subgroups, the highest scores were earned by: Asians, Anglos, and AS/A females, respectively. The lowest scores were demonstrated by: Anglo males and CR/KT Hispanic. Females preferred left-brain dominant/sequential learning styles (AS, CS) while the males preferred right-brain dominant/random styles CR, AR). Females preferred abstract learning styles (AS, AR) to concrete ones. Males preferred concrete styles (CR, CS) to abstract ones. Females preferred auditory modality while males preferred visual. This research confirms that there are significant variances in academic achievement among students with differing learning style and instructional modality preferences. The concern raised is whether or not some students are advantaged or disadvantaged in the learning environment by congruency or incongruency of teaching/learning styles. Additional research is needed in order to determine to what degree matching teaching/learning styles may improve academic achievement among learners now identified at risk.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access