The relationship between children's and teachers' perceptions of students' learning styles in a black, low SES, elementary school population

Diane L Pies, University of Pennsylvania


The present study investigated the hypothesis that a relationship exists between children's and teacher's perceptions of students' learning styles, IQ, and subsequent academic achievement. The literature has demonstrated a link between children's perceptions of their learning-related behaviors and subsequent performance on cognitive and academic tasks. However, there has been little research in this area with low SES populations, or in the broader framework of the classroom. Learning style, as defined by Stott, refers to children's overt behavioral responses to classroom learning situations, as observed by teachers. The sample consisted of 177 Black, low SES children enrolled in grades three through six. Teacher-perceived learning style was assessed by the Study of Children's Learning Style (SCLS). Children's perceptions of their learning styles were assessed by the Children's Perceived Learning Style scale (CPLS), a self-report measure designed by the investigator to parallel the SCLS. The relationship between teacher-perceived and child-perceived learning styles was analyzed through principal-components factor analysis and canonical variance analysis. The relationships between learning styles, IQ, and ability to predict achievement were investigated through separate univariate hierarchical regression analyses. Differences in learning styles as a function of children's gender and grade level were analyzed through repeated-measures ANOVAs. The results indicated that a reliable and valid construct of learning style, as perceived by teachers on the SCLS, could be identified in a Black, low SES elementary school sample. The SCLS was also found to be a valid predictor of concurrent achievement, and it afforded statistically significant predictions of achievement beyond those accounted for by an IQ measure. The construct of learning style could not be identified as perceived by children on the CPLS; likewise, the CPLS was not found to be a valid predictor of achievement, nor was it able to enhance an IQ measure in predicting achievement. Finally, evidence of differences in child-perceived and teacher-perceived learning styles across grade levels was inconclusive. The findings were discussed in light of the limitations of children's self-report measures, methodological weaknesses of the current study, and implications for future research.

Subject Area

Educational sociology|African Americans

Recommended Citation

Pies, Diane L, "The relationship between children's and teachers' perceptions of students' learning styles in a black, low SES, elementary school population" (1987). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8804950.