Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD, Director; Jerome J. Ammer, PhD; Linda Linstrom, EdD


attitudes, children & youth, computers, computer literacy, education, ethnic background, gender, learning style, middle schools


The educational world is belatedly rushing into the world of technology with relatively limited factual information concerning students' attitude toward computers. While most students have a positive attitude, research has indicated that the male is more positive than the female for various reasons. The purpose of this study was to investigate a diverse set of possible determinants of attitude toward computers including sex, ethnic background, learning style, and computer literacy. The subjects were 284 coeducational students from four ethnic backgrounds that attended three middle schools in San Diego. A requirement that subjects have two years of experience with computer assisted instruction made the sample population relatively sophisticated concerning computers. The methodology primarily involved the analysis of data by ANOVA and related procedures. Results of the quantitative analysis of data indicated that attitude toward computers was a complex phenomenon, with different aspects of cognitive skill as determinants. Furthermore, no simplistic generalization concerning attitude toward computers was truly applicable. Computer literacy had the strongest main effect. The analytic skill scale, the sequential processing skill scale, and the manipulative preference scale of the Learning Style Profile also had statistically significant main effects. Sex and ethnic background were not found to be determinants. The computer experience of the sample population was thought to have possibly been a factor in the outcome shifting the determinant of attitude from sex, found in earlier studies, to aspects of cognitive skill. The results of this research combined with earlier studies, indicated that attitude toward computers may be more site specific than generalizable. This characteristic increases the requirement for detailed local analysis prior to designing an effective computer assisted instruction program for a specific school.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access