IJMB Journal – Abstracts

International Journal of Management and Business

IJMB Volume V, Issue 2


Does Cognitive Style Make a Difference in Learning Statistical Concepts?:
Raymond L. Forbes Jra, John S. Brentb and Xiaopeng Nic

aProgram Chair, MS in Business Psychology, ray.forbes@franklin.edu.
bProgram Chair, Applied Psychology, john.brent@franklin.edu.
cFaculty, International Institute for Innovation in Instruction, xiaopeng.ni@franklin.edu.
Franklin University, Columbus, OH, USA


Many university students who encounter basic statistics for the first time struggle to grasp both the conceptual and practical aspects of the material. Expressions of frustration with the material are frequent and taking the course may be delayed to the end of a student’s program because of the perceived difficulty. This is certainly the case at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, where students have historically registered numerous complaints regarding statistics education. Successfully completing statistics instruction with a passing grade is a fundamental graduation requirement for business, liberal arts, technology, health, and public administration majors.
A special university taskforce was assembled in March of 2012 to investigate student attrition and poor performance in MATH 215 Statistical Concepts. The taskforce findings confirmed significant student problems in both areas. One of the taskforce members, with a behavioral science background, suggested that a potential cause of the poor performance in statistics courses could be the consequence of a difference in learning styles between the statistics instructors and their students. The fundamental supposition being that instructors prefer to teach in the style in which they prefer to learn, which may be at odds with how different students actually prefer to learn. The instructor-student learning disparity then creates difficulty for the students to comprehend and master the statistics material.
With the support of the Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Technology a research study was developed and implemented to test the impact of learning style differences on student performance as measured by their final course grade.
This paper describes the background, testable hypothesis, research design, results, conclusions, domestic and international implications and instructional recommendations that came from the study.

Keywords: mathematics education, cognitive styles, statistics instruction

Click for full manuscript (PDF) or back to Volume 5-2, Table of Content.