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Relationship Of Two Field-Dependent - Independent Measures To Reading And Math Achievement Of Anglo-American, First-Generation Chinese- And Mexican-American Elementary School Children

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The Field-Dependence-Independence (FDI) cognitive style refers to the relative ability of an individual to perceive elements as discrete from an overall organization. It is most commonly measured by the Portable-Rod-and-Frame Test (PRFT) and the children's Embedded Figure Test (CEFT). This study was concerned with the relationship of PRFT and CEFT to the reading, language, and math achievement scores of Anglo-American, first-generation Chinese- and Mexican-American elementary school children. This study also compared PRFT and CEFT scores among the three ethnic groups and between the boys and girls. The sample for the study consisted of 90 fourth- and fifth-graders with equal numbers in each ethnic group. Equal numbers of boys and girls were included within each ethnic group. A bilingual female Chinese-American tested each child individually on PRFT and CEFT. The total reading, total language, and total math scores of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) on the sample children were obtained from school district records. It was found that CEFT significantly predicted language and math achievement scores for the sample children. PRFT had significant relationships with reading and math achievement scores for only the Chinese group. Anglo children and Chinese boys scored in a significantly more field-independent direction on PRFT when compared with Chinese and Mexican girls. Boys and girls of all three ethnic groups scored about the same on CEFT. It was concluded that: (1) What is measured by PRFT is not the same as that which is measured by CEFT. (2) There is a moderate relationship between math/reading/language achievement scores and FDI measures. (3) An individual's performance on PRFT is influenced by his/her cultural background and upbringing.

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