The Relationship Between Some Psychological Factors And Their Effect On The

Performance Of Grid Questions And Word Association Tests



Mehmet Bahar, Centre for Science Education, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Dr Mike Hansell, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK



This paper reports (i) the relationship between some psychological factors (i.e. Field Dependence/Field Independence, Convergence/Divergence and Working Memory Capacity) and, (ii) the effect of these factors in the performance of the grid-type of questions as well as word association tests in biological concepts.

101 pupils at Higher Grade Biology (age 16-17) from four different secondary schools in the Central Belt of Scotland and around 300 first year biology students at Glasgow University have participated in this research.

The results showed that (i) there is likely to be an overlap between the field independence, high working memory capacity and a divergent thinking style and, between field dependence, low working memory capacity and a convergent thinking style. (ii) In terms of grid questions (in which the data is presented in the form of a numbered grid and students were asked to select the appropriate boxes from the grids for each question), overall performance of the field independent pupils in the grids was better than field dependent pupils. Pupils/students who had a divergent thinking style had higher scores on grid questions than the pupils/students who had a convergent thinking style. In terms of word association tests (WAT) responses, only convergence and divergence dimension of cognitive styles showed a significant relationship with the WAT. That is, students who had a divergent thinking style gave a larger total number of responses and a wider range of responses to the key words in the WAT than the students who had convergent thinking style.

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