You are on page 1of 170

1

INTRODUCTION

For many years, educational researchers have maintained an interest in the effective

prediction of students’ academic achievement in school. The prediction and explanation of

academic achievement and the examination of the factors relating to the academic

achievement are topics of greatest importance in different educational levels. Studies have

shown that prior academic performance is an important predictor of performance in other

levels of education. Similarly, cognitive ability was found as the strongest predictor of

academic performance. However, some studies confirm that the correlation between

cognitive ability and academic performance tends to decline as students progress in the

educational system (Casis, 1995). Thus, many researchers have emphasized the need to

include non-cognitive factors such as personality, motivation (Aquinas, 1990), gender, race,

social class as well as aptitudes (Kerlinger, 1986) in investigations of individual differences

in academic achievement.

Researchers continue to investigate the sources of variance in academic achievement,

focusing on what students bring with them to school which either facilitate or hinder their

performance (Casis, 1995). Movements in contemporary education during the past few

decades, for instance, have considered the influence of other cognitive factors such as

learning styles (Barbe & Milone, 1981) and epistemological beliefs (Perry, 1970).

Epistemology refers to the justification, nature, sources and evaluation of knowledge.

It has been reported that epistemological and cognitive sophistication are positively related to

skills such as critical thinking, self regulation and ability to communicate ideas and learning

in collaboration. The investigation of students’ perceptions of learning, teaching and


2

epistemological beliefs in the sciences has been widely researched because of their influences

on learning, goal orientation and use of cognitive strategies.

Similarly, educators have, for many years, noticed that some students prefer certain

methods of learning more than others (Diaz and Cartnal, 1999). These dispositions, referred

to as learning styles, form a student's unique learning preference and aid teachers in the

planning of small-group and individualized instruction.

Studies about the epistemological beliefs and learning styles correlated with the

academic achievement of high school students in the Philippines are very limited. In the

same manner, investigation about the moderating effects of different socio-demographic

characteristics of the students toward the relationship of learning style, epistemological

beliefs and academic performance has been very inadequate. Studies made would usually

tackle about the learning styles and epistemological beliefs of graduate and undergraduate

students. Additionally, comprehending how the Philippine secondary students think, process

information as well as recognizing their beliefs in acquiring and building their own cognitive

structures has caught little attention among Philippine researchers.

In the CLSU setting, not just the college students but also the high school students

share the same criticisms when they poorly perform in their academics specifically in science

subjects. This may be attributed to many factors such as language barrier (David, 1999),

mismatched learning and teaching styles (Velasquez, 2007), learning modalities (Leoveras,

2001), among others. Unfortunately, there were no specific studies yet that deeply examine

how these high school students manage their own understanding of their inner cognitive

constructs as well as their learning styles. It is important, thus, that researchers would make
3

study pertaining to high school students’ learning styles and epistemological beliefs so that

not only the teachers would have an understanding of the students, but the students as well

would understand themselves as to how they will properly treat what they know and

understand their epistemic beliefs that they can utilize in dealing with various facets of

learning.

This study, therefore, was conducted to determine the dominant learning style of each

of the respondents and the classification of epistemological beliefs. It also looked into the

possibility of the effects of epistemological beliefs on the learning styles of the students.

Likewise, how individuals view knowledge and learning that would have an influence upon

their beliefs about their own ability to engage in academic tasks was analyzed. It further

investigated whether epistemological beliefs and learning styles would have an impact on

student's academic performance. Lastly, this study explored the possible influence of

moderating variables such as age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly family

income, parents’ educational attainment, and parents’ occupation on the epistemological

beliefs, learning styles, and academic performance of the CLSU high school students.

Statement of the Problem

The growing concern about students’ epistemological beliefs and learning styles is

paving the way for more researches to understand how students may relate their

understanding, adoption of goal orientations and use of metacognitive and self-regulated

learning strategies, among other important aspects of learning in schools.


4

There are efforts to study the influence of epistemological beliefs on various learning

strategies. These studies investigated the use of strategies for specific tasks and in the

contexts of traditional classroom learning. However, little work has been done to evaluate the

epistemological beliefs and learning styles of students in general and evaluate the effects of

the epistemological beliefs and learning styles on academic performance of students. It is

also interesting to note, that in the past, little attention has been given to assess the influence

of several moderating variables in the relationship between the students’ academic

performance, learning styles and epistemological beliefs.

In the context of this objective, this study addressed the following questions:

1. What is the most dominant learning style among high school students in

Biology?

2. What types of epistemological beliefs are possessed by the high school students

in Biology?

3. What is the profile of student’s academic performance in Biology during the

school year 2009-2010?

4. Is there a significant relationship between the high school students’

epistemological beliefs and learning styles in Biology?

5. Is there a significant relationship between the high school students’ learning

styles and academic performance in Biology?

6. Is there a significant relationship between the high school students’

epistemological beliefs and academic performance in Biology?


5

7. Do dimensions of the students’ learning styles and epistemological beliefs

predict the academic performance of the students in Biology?

8. Is the relationship between learning styles and academic performance moderated

by age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly family income,

parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation?

9. Is the relationship between epistemological beliefs and academic performance

moderated by age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly family

income, parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation?

10. What are the socio-demographic characteristics of the CLSU sophomore high

school students in terms of age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility,

monthly family income, parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation?

Objectives of the Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the types of learning styles and

epistemological beliefs of the students and to determine the effects of students’ beliefs and

learning style on their academic performance as measured by their final grade in Biology in

the five high schools of Central Luzon State University during school year 2009-2010. This

study was conceptualized to investigate whether students’ epistemological beliefs and

learning styles would predict their academic performance. Furthermore, it was conducted to

test the moderating effect of several socio-demographic characteristics on the relationship of

students’ learning styles, epistemological beliefs, and their academic performance.


6

Specifically, this study was conducted in order to:

1. find out the most dominant learning style among high school students in Biology;

2. ascertain the types of epistemological beliefs of the high school students in

Biology;

3. determine the profile of student’s academic performance in Biology during the

school year 2009-2010;

4. determine if there is a significant relationship between the high school students’

epistemological beliefs and learning styles in Biology;

5. determine if there is a significant relationship between the high school students’

learning styles and academic performance in Biology;

6. determine if there is a significant relationship between the high school students’

epistemological beliefs and academic performance in Biology;

7. find out whether the dimensions of the students’ learning styles and

epistemological beliefs predicted the academic performance of the students in

Biology.

8. find out whether the relationship between learning styles and academic

performance is moderated by age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility,

monthly family income, parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation;


7

9. establish whether the relationship between epistemological beliefs and academic

performance is moderated by age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility,

monthly family income, parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation; and

10. determine the socio-demographic characteristics of CLSU high school students in

terms of age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly family income,

parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation.

Hypotheses of the Study

The following hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of confidence:

1. There is no significant relationship between the high school students’

epistemological beliefs and learning styles in Biology during the school year

2009-2010;

2. There is no significant relationship between the high school students’ learning

styles, epistemological beliefs and academic performance in Biology during

the school year 2009-2010;

3. Learning styles and epistemological beliefs do not predict the academic

performance of students in Biology.

4. The relationship between learning styles and academic performance is not

moderated by age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly family

income, parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation; and


8

5. The relationship between epistemological beliefs and academic performance

is not moderated by age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly

family income, parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation;

Significance of the Study

This study is an important contribution to the Philippine research on learning styles

and epistemological beliefs. It used an improved design in investigating relationships among

learning styles, epistemological beliefs and academic performance by employing causal and

effect design through regression analysis. Moreover, the study considered other factors

namely: age, gender, school’s location, ICT accessibility, monthly family income, parents’

educational attainment and parents’ occupation . Second, it involved high school students

who are mainly from rural school – groups that the researcher has observed have been rarely

involved in previous studies. This study, therefore, provides not only a basis for a more

thorough understanding of Filipino high school learners but also an alternative perspective in

efforts to improve students' academic achievement levels.

It was anticipated that the results of this study would:

1. Provide theoretical development to support more in-depth studies of students’

learning styles and academic performance;

2. Emphasize the critical roles of epistemological beliefs and learning styles in

influencing academic performance of students; and


9

3. Render a set of principles for creating a learning environment that would

enhance students’ development of sophisticated epistemological beliefs.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study focused on ascertaining the epistemological beliefs, learning styles and

academic performance of high school students of five high schools of the Central Luzon

State University. This study also correlated epistemological beliefs and learning styles to

academic performance and tried to look into the moderating influence of age, gender,

school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly family income, parents’ educational

background, parents’ occupation on the relationship between the abovementioned variables.

One hundred forty seven high school students from the University Laboratory High

School Bibiclat, Palusapis, and Pinili, all satellite high schools of CLSU that execute Revised

Basic Education Curriculum, Agricultural Science and Technology School which is primarily

an agricultural high school and the University Science High School that implements the

science curriculum, were the respondents of this research. All of them are using the same

reference materials.

The Learning Styles Inventory developed by Grasha and Reichmann (1996) and

Epistemological Beliefs Inventory developed by Schraw et al (2002) were used to assess

respondents’ learning styles and epistemological beliefs, respectively. The academic

performance refers to the final grade obtained by the students in Biology.


10

Time and Place of the Study

This study was conducted during the 1st semester S.Y. 2010-2011 in the five high

schools of the Central Luzon State University namely: ULHS Palusapis in Science City of

Muñoz, ULHS Bibiclat in Aliaga, ULHS Pinili in San Jose City, the Agricultural Science and

Technology School and the University Science High School both situated within CLSU main

campus; ULHS-Palusapis, ULHS-Bibiclat, ULHS-Pinili are outreach high schools operated

by CLSU.
11

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Epistemological Beliefs

Development of Personal Epistemology Research

The seminal work of William Perry (1970) revealed that liberal arts students in

Harvard University and Radcliffe University increasingly developed more complex and

integrated epistemological beliefs as they progressed through their course and noticed that

students moved through four main epistemological positions, which he described as dualism,

multiplism, relativism and commitment. Individuals who held dualistic views about the

nature of knowledge believed that absolute truths (right/wrong) exist and could be

transmitted to an individual from an authority or expert. Next, when individuals began to

conceive knowledge in a multiplistic way, they conceded that, as well as absolute truths,

there were some things that could not be known with any certainty. Such individuals believed

that knowledge comprised both personal opinions and ultimate truths. They relied less on

authorities for absolute truths, and personal opinions and truths were still considered to be

'right' or 'wrong'. The next position, relativism, constituted a major shift in epistemological

thinking because individuals considered that knowledge is actively and personally

constructed, although initially this may have occurred in some contexts only. Absolute truths

no longer exist because truth is considered to be relative to individuals' personal

interpretations of experiences. In the final position, related to commitment, relativistic

thinking is still a feature, but particular beliefs are more valued than others and the

commitment to them was flexible. Although these positions are not intended to be gender-

specific, they were derived using male Harvard students. In subsequent research, Belenky et
12

al. (1986) derived a similar set of epistemological positions using female samples.

Baxter Magolda (1993) continued this line of research, using a sample of more than

100 male and female college students in longitudinal research. The students were interviewed

yearly using open-ended questions and asked to complete short answer responses to the

Measure of Epistemological Reflections (MER). The sample included 50 males and 51

females at a Midwestern university with a final sample of 80 students in the fourth year of

the study (Baxter Magolda, 1994). This study was extended also up into the post-college

years with 70 students (Baxter Magolda, 1994).

Perry’s (1970) development model is not without critics. Moore (2002) reports that in

social constructivist literature, some researchers include Perry’s scheme in their critiques

those developmental perspectives “emphasize individual cognition and universal forms of

thought to the exclusion of sociocultural and contextual factors”. Hofer and Pintrich (1997)

stated that the epistemological movement in the Perry’s lower stages is clearer than

movement in the upper stages.

Schommer (1994) proposes that epistemological beliefs be conceived as a system of

relatively independent beliefs. She claims that there is more than one epistemological

dimension to consider and each dimension has a range of possible values. On the other hand,

Schommer (1994) does not totally discount the role of development in personal

epistemology. She also states that beliefs do not develop in synchrony and that the synchrony

or asynchrony of beliefs is dependent on an individual’s developmental level (Schommer-

Aikens, 2002). Schommer (1994) outlines five epistemological dimensions and their

corresponding values: (1) certainty of knowledge, ranging from knowledge is absolute, to


13

knowledge is tentative; (2) structure of knowledge, ranging from knowledge is organized as

isolated bits and pieces, to knowledge is organized as highly interwoven concepts; (3) source

of knowledge, ranging from knowledge, is handed down by authority to knowledge is

derived through reason; (4) control of knowledge acquisition, ranging from the ability to

learn is fixed at birth, the ability to learn can be changed; and (5) the speed of the knowledge

acquisition, ranging from knowledge is acquired quickly or not-at-all to knowledge is

acquired gradually. According to Schommer (1994a), epistemological beliefs are relatively

independent, meaning that individuals are not necessarily sophisticated or naïve in all beliefs

concurrently. For instance, individuals may believe that the solution to poverty is highly

complex, yet once the solution is found, it will be absolute (Schommer, 1994a). Rather than

characterizing epistemological beliefs as a single point on a dimension, Schommer (1994a)

proposes that individuals’ epistemological beliefs are best represented as frequency

distributions with the distinction between the naïve learner and the sophisticated learner a

matter of the shape of the distribution. For example, the sophisticated learner may believe

that a small amount of knowledge is unchanging, some knowledge has yet to be discovered,

and a large amount of knowledge is evolving (Schommer, 1994b). On the contrary, the naïve

individual believes much knowledge is certain, some knowledge has yet to be discovered,

and a small portion of knowledge is changing (Schommer, 1994b). While based on Perry’s

(1970) groundbreaking work, the most noted distinction in Schommer’s theory (1990, 1994a)

is that one cannot simply assume that epistemological beliefs are in sync, especially when

individuals are changing their epistemological beliefs (Duell & Schommer-Aikens, 2001). In

other words, beliefs are independent and may not develop at the same rate or be inconsistent
14

with each other (Schommer & Walker, 1997). For example, an individual may hold extreme

beliefs that knowledge is isolated, made up of pieces of information and certain or never

changing. As development occurs, the individual’s belief that knowledge is isolated may

change to the belief that knowledge is highly complex and involves an intricate network of

ideas. At the same time, this individual may still believe that knowledge is completely certain

(Schommer & Walker, 1997).

Hofer and Pintrich (1997) relay the important contribution of Schommer’s work and

that her research initiated other researchers to investigate how epistemological beliefs might

be linked to issues of academic classroom learning and performance. Schommer (1994a)

purports that epistemological beliefs have indirect and direct effects on aspects of cognition

and how students approach learning.

In her Reflective Judgment Model about Epistemological Beliefs in the Classroom,

King (2000) described the frustration and misunderstandings in both student and teacher

experience when there is a large discrepancy between student’s and professor’s expectations

about a course and what should occur in the classroom. King further explained that both

teachers and students hold expectations about the teaching and learning process and asserted

that these expectations are shaped by prior experiences and personal philosophies. Some of

these expectations reflect what both consider to be “important to learn, how it should be

learned, who has what responsibilities in the teacher-student relationship,” and how much

time and energy should be devoted to the course. The vital element underlying expectations

about teaching and learning is the assumptions a person holds about knowledge and how it is

gained. These expectations and beliefs about teaching and learning are epistemological as
15

they focus on the nature and origin of knowledge. Baxter Magolda (1992a) suggests that

“students’ epistemologies affect students’ interpretations of community, involvement in

learning, and the pedagogies aimed at creating both”.

In line with Baxter Magolda’s assertions, Kember (2001) found that attitudes and the

ability to cope with studying at institutions of higher education were influenced by students’

sets of beliefs about knowledge and the process of teaching and learning. Kember suggests

that higher education assist new students with the transition to belief systems in line with

more experienced students.

Paulsen and Feldman (1999) explored the relationship between epistemological

beliefs of students and their motivation to learn. They found that sophisticated beliefs in the

areas of simple knowledge, quick learning, and fixed ability were significantly related to the

motivational constructs of intrinsic goal orientation, extrinsic goal orientation, task value,

control of learning, self-efficacy, and test anxiety. Paulsen and Feldman (1999) and Kember

(2001) discuss the need for higher education to provide a learning environment that promotes

the development of students’ epistemological beliefs. Further evidence of the importance of

and the need for additional research on students’ epistemological beliefs is found in studies

that assess students’ beliefs and academic performance. Several researchers (Schommer et

al., 1992; Schommer 1990, 1988; Ryan, 1984) found that more sophisticated epistemological

beliefs were related to better grades, enhanced test performance, and more sophisticated

study strategies.

Schrader (2004) suggests that classrooms that feel intellectually safe to students,
16

resulting in more conducive learning environments, are derived from a moral atmosphere and

an epistemological “fit” between teacher and student. A moral climate in the classroom is one

where the instructor models respect, critical reflection, inclusiveness and support. It was

hypothesized that even if a moral climate is present; there may be tension between students’

and professors’ epistemological perspectives or fit. The instructor may challenge students to

think beyond their ways of knowing that they feel comfortable with, and the learning

experience may not fit the students’ epistemological perspectives. For instance, the teacher

may validate contradictory viewpoints or focus on construction of knowledge rather than on

disseminating knowledge (Schrader, 2004). On the other hand, students who feel supported

in their views and safe to speak their mind and question their assumptions will more likely

accept the challenge of a new way of thinking and be more apt to adopt new views. This

event is described as “epistemic stretch” (Schrader, 2004). Further, students must first be met

or valued at their initial level of epistemic thought before being able to accept new

epistemologies.

Many studies in epistemological literature illustrate the importance of students’

epistemological beliefs and their academic performance (Kember, 2001; Paulsen & Feldman,

1999; Hofer & Pintrich, 1997; Kardash & Scholes, 1996; Rukavina & Daneman, 1996; Qian

& Alvermann, 1995; Schraw et al 1995; Schommer, 1993a, 1993b, 1988, 1990; Ryan, 1984).

A study made by David (2008) found that BS Biology students and BSEd-major in

Biology students taking up Plant Physiology at Central Luzon State University showed

sophisticated epistemological beliefs on the dimensions of knowledge and the process of

knowing in acquiring knowledge when subjected to constructivist learning environment that


17

brought them positive effect in improving the conceptual change. Majority of them held

mixed epistemological beliefs on the source of knowledge. Moreover, better conceptual

change was experienced by the students with sophisticated epistemological beliefs regardless

of their pre-instructional conception.

There is a scarcity of research, however, regarding students’ beliefs compared to those

of their instructors and how these beliefs affect students’ experience and integration into the

academic community. Previous research has found links between certain profiles of such

beliefs about epistemology and higher academic performance (Lodewyk, 2007; Schommer,

1993a) along with a host of achievement-enhancing factors like problem-solving (King &

Kitchener, 1994), comprehension (Qian & Alvermann, 1995), conceptual change (David,

2008; Mason & Boscolo, 2004) motivation (Qian & Alvermann, 1995), and use of study

strategies ( Leoveras, 2001; Schommer et al, 1992).

Epistemological Beliefs and Academic Performance

Epistemological beliefs were found to have an influence on performance of several

different learning tasks in literature such as physics conceptual understanding (Hammer,

1994), text comprehension (Schommer et al., 1992; Schommer, 1990; Ryan, 1984), science

learning (Qian & Alvermann, 1995; Songer & Linn, 1991), and general academic

achievement (Schommer, 1993). Ryan (1984) also found that students’ beliefs about

knowledge affect their understanding of complex topics or complex academic tasks like

conceptual change learning. Davis (1997) stated that students’ beliefs influence short term

performance in science class as well as their long term progress. Schommer (1993), in her
18

study with high school students, showed that naïve beliefs about epistemology are associated

with low GPA’s.

Several researchers in the science education literature investigated the students’

beliefs about nature of science and the relationships between these beliefs and science

learning and achievement since 1980’s (Qian & Alvermann, 1995; Solomon et al., 1994;

Larochelle & Desautels, 1991; Songer & Linn, 1991). Epistemological beliefs are believed to

contribute to understanding of science concepts, science learning and performance in science

classrooms (Tsai, 1998b; 2000a; Hammer, 1994; Schommer, 1993; Songer & Linn, 1991).

Schommer (1997) stated that there is relationship between epistemological beliefs and

learning. In one of her studies with colloquies (Schommer et al., 1992), it was stated that

more students believe that the knowledge best characterized as isolated facts, the more

difficulty students have in understanding information in complex domains such as statistics

and medicine. Schommer (1993) also stated that academic achievement of students are not

only directly influenced by the epistemological beliefs, but also indirectly influenced by the

students’ learning approaches; epistemological beliefs may affect the students’ learning

approaches and these approaches in consequence influence their academic achievement.

In her study of 1,000 high school students, Schommer (1993) investigated the

development of secondary school students’ epistemological beliefs and the influence of these

beliefs on academic performance. The sample composed of 405 freshman, 312 sophomore,

274 junior and 191 senior high school students. Epistemological beliefs of the students were

assessed by Schommer’s (1990) questionnaire composed of 12 subsets of items to investigate

students’ preferences about knowledge and learning. In order to examine the influence of
19

epistemological beliefs on overall academic performance, the researcher conducted

regression analysis in which students’ GPA scores were regressed on the four epistemological

factor scores. The results showed that all four epistemological factors predicted GPA.

In order to obtain a complete understanding of personal epistemology, and its’

relationship with academic performance, Schommer-Aikins and Easter (2006) conducted a

study with 107 college students. In this study, the researchers investigated two epistemic

paradigms; namely, ways of knowing (connected knowing and separate knowing) and

epistemological beliefs (beliefs about the speed of knowledge acquisition-speed, the structure

of knowledge-structure, knowledge construction and modification-construction,

characteristics of successful students-success, and attainability of truth-truth). Students’

academic performance was based on their scores on reading comprehension test and a

university course grade. Path analysis revealed that the effects of ways of knowing on

academic performance are mediated by belief in the speed of learning.

In a more specific area of research in terms of science education, Conley, et al. (2004)

conducted a correlational study in order to investigate the changes in 187 fifth grade students’

epistemological beliefs in a nine-week hands-on science unit. The researchers assessed

students’ epistemological beliefs in four dimensions, namely Source, Certainty, Development

and Justification by using Elder’ (1999) instrument. They also collected data related to

students’ gender, ethnicity, socio economic status and achievement from school records. They

used the combination of mathematics and reading test scores from the Stanford Achievement

Test as an indicator of students’ achievement. Students’ epistemological beliefs were

measured both at the beginning and at end of the unit. Results showed, that students’
20

epistemological beliefs about source and certainty of knowledge became more sophisticated

at the end of the unit meaning that students moved away from the beliefs that knowledge was

certain and existed in external authorities. However, there were no significant changes in

development and justification in sub-dimensions. The researchers also investigated the effect

of gender, ethnicity, SES and achievement in the development of epistemological beliefs. The

result showed that there were no main or moderating effects of gender or ethnicity, but effects

of SES and achievement are observed. According to the results, students with low SES and

low achievement levels had less sophisticated beliefs compared to students with average SES

and high achievement level. Also, it was0 found out that high achievers had more

sophisticated beliefs. Correlation results showed that at the end of the intervention, it was

found that there were significant correlations between all four epistemological beliefs sub-

dimensions and achievement, namely; Source, Certainty, Development, and Justification.

Songer and Linn (1991) investigated the relationship between 153 eight grade

students’ epistemological views about science and their ability to integrate scientific

knowledge about thermodynamics. The participant students enrolled in a one semester

physical science class. A nine-item measure called The View of Science Evaluation was used

to collect data from students about their beliefs about science. As a result of the analysis,

students’ beliefs were categorized into three groups: a) dynamic beliefs, b) static beliefs, and

c) mixed beliefs. Students who have dynamic beliefs about science were likely to view

scientific knowledge as controversial and changing. On the other hand, students who have

static beliefs about science were unlikely to recognize the controversy in science knowledge.

These students believed that scientific knowledge is unchanging. The researchers also found
21

that students having dynamic views related to epistemology of science were more likely to

demonstrate understanding of heat and temperature topic than students having more static

views of science. In other words, students believing, changing and developing nature of

scientific knowledge were more likely to integrate concepts in thermodynamics than students

believing that scientific knowledge is certain and stable. Songer and Linn (1991) explained

that if students believe that science consists of separate and isolated pieces of knowledge,

they may not able to integrate the knowledge presented in science classes. They added that, if

science is presented to students as relatively unrelated pieces of information, it will make

science learning even harder. Students can integrate science knowledge properly, if they are

presented with an appropriate nature of science view and with an instruction parallel to this

constructivist view.

Learning Styles

Research about learning styles began to develop several decades ago from several

different directions. These included early studies on cognitive growth, the areas of the brain

related to intelligence and behavior, and the influence of school environmental and social

factors on students. Learning styles can be defined, classified and identified in many different

ways. Gregorc (1978) based learning on perceptual preferences, concrete and abstract, and

ordering preferences, sequential and random. Kolb (1984) defined the way people learn

through “feelings” or through “thinking.” He defined learning as the process whereby

knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. In order to understand

learning, we must understand the nature and forms of human knowledge and the processes
22

whereby this knowledge is created. In Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory model (ELT),

Kolb defined three stages of a person’s development: acquisition, specialization and

integration.

Anthony Grasha and Sheryl Reichmann developed the Grasha-Reichmann Student

Learning Style Scales (GRSLAA) in 1974 (Reichmann & Grasha, 1974; Grasha, 1972) to

develop college student’s styles in classroom participation. Over a period of two years,

Grasha and Reichmann interviewed undergraduate students of the University of Cincinnati.

These students were asked to sort student behaviors in a typical classroom into response

styles. The student’s response styles were based on three classroom dimensions: student’s

attitudes toward learning, their views of the teacher and/or peers, and their reaction to

classroom procedures. From these three classroom dimensions three styles emerged:

avoidant-participant, competitive-collaborative, and dependent-independent.

Participant/Avoidant

Students with participant style are eager to learn course content, enjoy learning, and

take responsibility for their own learning. Students with avoidant style do not want to learn

the content, do not enjoy learning, and avoid taking part in course activities.

Students with participant style are more likely to do well in distance learning, which

requires more effort on their part than the typical classroom. To teach students with avoidant

style, demonstrate how learning the material will benefit them in their own lives.

Collaborative/Competitive

Students with collaborative style work well with others and enjoy cooperative
23

learning and working in groups. Students with a competitive style see the classroom as a win-

lose situation in which they must win. These students will enjoy competitive activities.

Distance education that stresses cooperative learning and group projects will appeal

to students with a collaborative style. For students with competitive style, provide

opportunities for individual recognition. Instructional games or case study competitions will

also appeal to competitive learners.

Independent/Dependent

Students with independent style are curious and confident learners. They prefer to

work on their own in individual activities. Students with a dependent style see the teacher as

a source of information, want to be told what to do, and will learn only what is required.

For students with independent style, give them opportunities for independent study,

self-paced work, or special projects based on their interests. Students with dependent learning

style will need more guidance from the teacher. It is important to recognize these students in

a distance learning situation, as they may flounder without explicit instructor guidance.

According to Diaz and Cartnal (1999), the Grasha-Riechmann Student Learning

Style Scales (GRSLSS) was designed specifically to be used for senior high school and

college students. Diaz and Cartnal pointed out that this instrument not only measures the

learning styles of students but also how they deal with their fellow students and teachers. It

was also noted that the information gleaned from the GRSLSS can help instructors create

effective syllabi and allow them to be more attuned to the needs of their students. As with

Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory, learners have some aspects of all six attributes when

measured with the GRSLSS, but learners tend towards dominance in one or two categories
24

(Diaz and Cartnal, 1999).

Learning Style and Academic Performance

Learning style is the way the students take in and process information. Learners have

different learning styles. Some prefer to work with concrete information while others are

more comfortable with abstraction. Understanding one’s learning style can improve the

student’s learning effectiveness in and outside of the classroom (Carbonel, 2008).

Drysdale et al. (2001) have shown that academic success and failure in higher

education is influenced by “the match between how material is presented and how students

process it”. They also found a correlation between learning style and increased levels of

GPA. Dunn et al. (1995) found that making students aware of their learning style and helping

them develop study skills compatible with their preferred learning style had a positive affect

on academic performance. In a similar vein, Griggs and Dunn (1996) claimed that students

who learn from an approach compatible with their preferred learning style experience greater

academic achievement and had more positive attitude towards learning.

Castro and Peck (2005) carried out a study on learning styles and learning difficulties

that foreign language students face at the college level and claim that student’s prefererence

for learning style can help or hinder success in a foreign language classroom. However, when

they analyzed the distribution of grades according to Kolb’s learning style types, they found

no significant correlation between learning style and grades.

Grasha and Reichmann (1996) believed that students’ learning styles can be identified

through the social and effective perspective like attitude toward teachers and peers, and

reaction to classroom procedures. Effective teaching requires a thorough understanding of the


25

learning process, characteristics of students at different stages of development, individual

differences, factors that influence motivation, and procedures for maintaining orderly

classrooms. Teachers rely on this background when they make decisions about what they will

teach, which points they will emphasize, and how they will present content to their students

(Eggen & Kauchak, 1994).

Learning styles refer to the way people use the abilities they have. Learning styles

refer to what a person prefers to do, whereas skill, ability, and achievement refer to what a

person can do. The optimal conditions for learning include a good fit between learning styles

and learning environments. When a person’s learning styles are compatible with his learning

environments (i.e., affordances of the tasks, tools, instruction, etc.), the task seems easy and

the person is motivated, energized and productive. When a person is engaged in academic

work that does not matter with his learning styles, the work is arduous and draining

(Sternberg, 1997).

Dunn et al. (1995) conducted a meta-analysis of results across 42 experimental

studies designed to determine the value of teaching students through their own learning style

preferences. Using quantitative methods to compare across the different studies, it was

concluded that matching student learning style preferences with instructional method is

clearly advantageous to the academic achievement of the respondents. The combined

evidence from the analysis conducted by Dunn et al. (1995) showed that students whose

learning styles were accommodated in teaching methodologies were characterized by

learning achievements higher than students whose styles were not accommodated (75 percent

of a standard deviation). Similarly, working with nursing students, Laurillard (1994) showed
26

that a group of students provided with learning opportunities based on their identified

learning style preferences achieved statistically significantly higher grades than did a control

group of students provided with homogeneous instructional methodology.

In the same way, an extensive study by Hayes and Allinson (1997) led them to the

conclusion that the matching of learning styles to teaching methods in the workplace

positively influences learning outcome; and that learning style can be influenced by

educational experience. However, they also argue that some learning styles appear to be more

suited to workplace learning and the performance of certain duties than other styles.

Instructional strategies can be developed around an understanding of learning styles

and preferences in any given learning context, by providing more or less guidance and

structure to students, depending on their level of self-directedness or dependence; by

providing greater social interaction during learning where the group style would indicate that

is preferred; and more or less hands-on learning tasks, depending on their level of preference

for that or for more verbal forms of learning (Diaz and Cartnal, 1999).

Sarasin (1998) noted that instructors should be willing to change their teaching

strategies and techniques based on an appreciation of the variety of student learning styles.

“Teachers should try to ensure that their methods, materials and resources fit the ways in

which their students learn and maximize the learning potential of each student”.

In their review of cognitive style, Sternberg and Grigorenko (1997) have observed

that everyone possesses every style to some degree, and that people will use different styles

in different learning situations. The notion that individuals use different styles in different
27

accommodating learning styles support document situations has also been proposed by

Laurillard (1993) and Kolb (1986).

In a study conducted among 120 high school students taking Biology, Santos (2008)

found that students who have high academic achievement tended to hold more positive

learning styles, that is, majority of them are independent and participative while those

students who have low academic achievement were mostly dependent and avoidant.

Furthermore, the more these students are given activities by themselves; they showed

significant positive effect on their academic achievement.

The same findings were observed among 100 senior high school students in the study

of Ayuste and Duran (2009). Students headed towards high academic achievement when

activities were designed for the students to work individually or in collaboration with others

with minimum supervision from their teacher. On the other hand, avoidance and dependence

were noticed among students who have low academic achievement.

Predictors of Academic Performance

Epistemological Beliefs

In the field of education, epistemological beliefs have been an important construct for

the past two decades and have frequently been used to predict achievement or achievement-

related behavior (Buehl & Alexander, 2001; Hofer & Pintrich, 1997). It has been assumed

that—similar to motivational constructs, sophisticated epistemological beliefs will positively

affect the learning process, and factors such as the choice of learning have been proposed as

mediating mechanisms. A significant relationship between achievement and epistemological


28

beliefs has indeed been found in several non-experimental and experimental studies (e.g.

Hofer, 2005; Ryan, 1984). However, the strength of this relationship varies across samples

and depends to some degree on the dimensions examined.

For instance, in the Schommer (1993) study with high school students, grade point

average (GPA) was significantly negatively predicted by the four dimensions covered in the

questionnaire (quick learning, stable knowledge/certainty, simple knowledge, fixed ability).

When controlling for verbal IQ, however, only the quick learning dimension remained

significant. The effect of the quick learning dimension on academic achievement was

confirmed in a longitudinal extension of the Schommer (1993) study by Schommer, et al.

(1997). However, neither stable knowledge/certainty nor two other dimensions significantly

contributed to the explanation of GPA in either study. Similarly, stable knowledge/certainty

beliefs were not significantly related to math test performance in a study of 139

undergraduate and graduate students (Schommer et al., 1992). The stable

knowledge/certainty dimension did, however, predict inappropriately absolute conclusions in

a study of 86 junior college students who completed several comprehension tasks after

reading text passages (Schommer, 1990). Similarly, Kardash and Scholes (1996) reported that

beliefs about the certainty of knowledge predicted the types of conclusions drawn by high

school students (ND96) after reading mixed evidence on a controversial topic (causes of

AIDS). The stronger the students’ beliefs in the certainty of knowledge, the more likely they

were to draw conclusions that failed to take into account the inconclusive nature of

information provided. The certainty dimension was also significantly related to achievement

in a study of 326 first year college students (Hofer, 2005). In this study, certainty scores on
29

both domain-general and domain-specific measures were the strongest predictors of

academic achievement. The higher their certainty scores, the lower the students’ academic

standing.

In order to obtain a complete understanding of personal epistemology, and its

predictive power on academic performance, Schommer-Aikins and Easter (2006) conducted

a study of 107 college students. In this study, the researchers investigated two epistemic

paradigms; namely; ways of knowing (connected knowing and separate knowing) and

epistemological beliefs (beliefs about the speed of knowledge acquisition-speed, the structure

of knowledge-structure, knowledge construction and modification-construction,

characteristics of successful students-success, and attainability of truth-truth). Students’

academic performance was based on their scores on reading comprehension test and a

university course grade. Path analysis revealed that the effects of ways of knowing on

academic performance are mediated by belief in the speed of learning.

Kızılgüneş (2007) investigated the predictive influences of 1041 sixth grade students’

epistemological beliefs, achievement motivation, learning approaches on achievement in

classification concepts in science. She used the Turkish versions of Learning Approach

Questionnaire, Epistemological Beliefs Questionnaire, Achievement Motivation

Questionnaire and Classification Concept Test. Results of the study showed that most of the

students believed tentative nature of science, they utilized meaningful learning approach

during their science learning and they liked to learn something new. Students’ achievement

scores were found to be correlated with their epistemological beliefs, learning approaches

and goal orientations. Regression analysis revealed that learning approaches explained 12%
30

of the variance and epistemological beliefs explained two percent of the variance in students’

achievement.

Similarly, in a survey study of 1269 grade 7 and 8 students to examine

epistemological beliefs, Schommer, et al. (2000) also investigated the predictive value of

epistemological beliefs in students GPA scores. The students in the study completed the

revised version of Schommer’s epistemological beliefs questionnaire. Only some part of the

students’ GPA scores could be obtained from school records. Therefore, to ensure that

students with GPA scores were not substantially different from the entire sample, the

researchers conducted chi-square analysis to compare students with and without GPA scores

information. No significant differences were found for gender or for grade level in school.

The researchers further tested the representativeness of beliefs of students with obtained GPA

information using one way multivariate analysis of variance incorporating the availability of

GPA predictor and epistemological belief scores as the criterion measures. There were no

significant differences obtained for the epistemological beliefs sub-dimension scores. Since

the researchers revealed that the students with available GPA scores were found comparable

with the entire sample, they continued with the regression analysis. In order to investigate the

predictive value of epistemological beliefs, students’ GPA scores were regressed on

epistemological beliefs scores in stepwise regression. At each step of the analysis, the

variable accounting for the largest variance entered the equation. Two of the predictor

variables were found significant; belief in fixed ability and belief in quick learning. It can be

concluded that there was a relationship between students’ epistemological beliefs and their

general achievement in school, more specifically, the less students believed in fixed ability to
31

learn and quick learning, the better GPA they had.

Trautwein and Ludtke (2007) examined the role of certainty beliefs as predictors of

school achievement using structural equation modeling. The certainty beliefs were specified

to be mediating the influence of cognitive abilities and family background on final school

grades. Family background, cultural capital, cognitive abilities, gender, age, were used as the

predictors of certainty beliefs and final school grade as an indicator of achievement. The fit

of this hypothetical model was found to be good. Similar to the findings of the other studies

in the literature, the certainty beliefs in the model had a negative significant effect on final

school grade (β = - .15, p < .001).

Learning Styles

Learning approaches can generally be defined as the learners’ ideas or conceptions of

learning, how they experience or define learning, and the strategies they use to learn (Cano,

2005). Similarly, Biggs (1991) described learning approaches as the ways students use

through their academic tasks that have an influence on the learning outcome.

Cavallo, Rozman, Blickenstaff and Walker (2003) conducted a study to explore

college students’ learning approaches, reasoning abilities, motivational goals, and beliefs

about the nature of science relative to science concept understanding and course

achievement. The study was conducted with 291 science major students enrolled in biology

or one of two different physics courses. Among the samples of the study, for the biology

major students, meaningful learning was significantly and positively correlated with learning

goals (r = .46). Rote learning was significantly and positively correlated with performance
32

goals (r = .37) and negatively correlated with learning goals (r = -.35). Also, they found that

performance goals were significantly and negatively correlated with epistemological beliefs

(r = -.23, p < .05), which means that high performance goals were related to beliefs that

science is fixed and authoritative. For biology students meaningful learning and tentative

view of science were positively related to learning goals. This means that these variables may

underlie the motivation to learn for just learning. Moreover, it was found that for biology

students, the reasoning ability, learning goals and scientific epistemological views were

positively correlated with course grade.

Boujaoude (1992) conducted a study to investigate the relationship between high

school students’ learning approaches, prior knowledge and attitudes towards chemistry, and

their performance on a misunderstanding test. Forty-nine high school students enrolled in the

study. The researcher observed the students for 16 weeks by attending eighty 50-minute

classes of a chemistry course. The typical week of the course included one laboratory period

and four lecture periods. To diagnose students’ misunderstandings about science, the

Misunderstanding Test was used. In order to assess their approaches to learning, The

Learning Approach Questionnaire developed by Donn was used. A stepwise multiple

regression analysis was applied to data in order to determine variables which were the best

predictors of performance on the Misunderstanding Post Test. The results showed that the

students’ performance on the misunderstanding pretest (36%) and their learning approaches

(14%) accounted a statistically significant proportion of the variance on their performance in

the misunderstanding posttest.

Diseth and Martinsen (2003) analyzed the relationship among approaches to learning
33

(deep, strategic, surface), cognitive style, motives, and academic achievement. In their study,

192 undergraduate psychology students participated. A part of the Approaches and Study

Skills Inventory for Students was used to measure students’ learning approaches as deep,

strategic and surface approaches to learning. Results of the correlation analysis showed that

both the surface approach (r = -.19, p < .05) and the strategic approach (r = .06, p < .05)

correlated with the academic achievement significantly. The total set of variables was

analyzed using structural equation modeling to investigate their interrelationships and their

relationship to academic achievement simultaneously. The model showed that deep approach

to learning did not significantly predict academic achievement. As evidenced by the

correlation analysis, strategic and surface approaches predicted academic achievement

significantly in the model (r1 = .19, r2 = -.23, p < .05, for strategic and surface approaches

respectively). As a result of the study, it was found that approaches to learning predicted

academic achievement, however, motives and styles had only indirect effects on

achievement. Contrary to the expectations and the other studies in the literature, Diseth and

Martinsen (2003) found that deep approach to learning did not predict academic

achievement, while strategic and surface approaches significantly predicted achievement.

Bernardo (2003) investigated the influence of learning approaches to learning on

academic achievement of Filipino college students. The sample of the study consists of 156

male and 248 female students from a private university. The researcher used Biggs’ Learning

Approach Questionnaire to assess students’ approaches to learning. As a measure of

academic achievement, the students’ grade point averages (GPA) were used. The results

showed that deep and achieving sub-scale scores were positively related to academic
34

achievement even when the school ability and prior academic achievement were controlled,

whereas surface motive sub-scale scores and achievement were found to be negatively

correlated.

Sadler-Smith (1996) investigated if students’ study approaches predicted their

academic success and also the effects of gender, age, and program of study on approaches to

studying. The sample of the study had a total of 245 business studies students. The

respondents’ study approaches were assessed by a 38-item inventory in terms of three

primary orientations: deep approach, surface approach, and strategic approach. As the

indicators of academic success both the students’ end of semester scores on a core module

assessed by a variety of methods (course work, multiple choice test, and essay), and their

overall end of semester scores aggregated across 12 modules were used. Results revealed

moderately high positive correlations between deep and strategic orientations and between

surface and lack of direction orientations. The academic self confidence and surface

orientations were found to be correlated negatively, as did the strategic and lack of direction

orientations. For the entire sample of students, statistically significant correlation was

obtained for the overall academic performance and deep approach. However, for the sub-

groups, higher correlations were obtained. For the business computing sub-group of students,

lack of direction was found to be significantly correlated with the aggregate score as an

indicator of academic success, and for the accounting and finance sub-group, deep approach

significantly correlated with the aggregate score, and the strategic approach significantly

correlated with the test score.

In another study that examined learning approach and academic performance


35

relationship, Cavallo (1996) investigated 189 tenth grade students’ meaningful learning

orientation and the relationship among those orientations, their reasoning ability,

understanding of genetic topics and problem solving ability in a one group pretest-posttest

design. Learning Approach Questionnaire was used to assess students’ learning approaches.

In order to assess students’ reasoning ability Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning and to

assess their understanding of genetic topics three tests were used. Results of the correlation

analysis showed that there is no significant correlation between students’ meaningful learning

orientation and their reasoning ability. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that

students’ meaningful learning orientation and reasoning ability predicted scores on the test of

understanding genetics topic. Reasoning ability predicted 9% of the variance and meaningful

learning orientation predicted 5% of the variance on the tests of understanding genetic topics.

Both meaningful learning and reasoning ability were found to be related with course

performance.

Moderating Variables

Several studies in the past established the relationship of the students’ achievement

and their socio-demographic characteristics. The socio-economics conditions under which

the parents of the children live are important factors that determine the student’s social

background. According to Velasquez (2007) and Carbonel (2008) the social class of the

students is defined by environment that provides different factors such as monthly family

income, parents’ occupation and parents’ educational background. The social class origin of

students on the average may explain differences in the students’ performance in school. In
36

this study, these socio-demographic characteristics will be treated as moderating variables

that are anticipated to influence students’ epistemological beliefs, learning styles and

academic performance.

Moderating Variables and Epistemological Beliefs

The potential moderating role of select socio-demographic characteristics such as age,

gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, family income, parents’ educational attainment,

and parents’ occupation was also considered. Although it is clear that epistemological beliefs

change over the long term from less sophisticated to more sophisticated, personal factors can

facilitate or constrain development of epistemological beliefs. In the research on

epistemological beliefs, there is a fair amount of research on the role of socio-demographic

characteristics on achievement level of the students, but very little to none on the role of

school location, ICT accessibility and family income may play in the development of such.

There is a clear need to examine these factors and to investigate how they might moderate or

change the nature of development (Pintrich, 2002).

Although epistemological beliefs, particularly, certainty beliefs, have been found to

predict academic achievement in several studies in the past, results have not been

unequivocal. However, the non-significant findings may in part be attributable to the design

of the studies in question. As pointed out by Wood and Kardash (2002), studies on

epistemological beliefs often lack the power to detect small to moderate effect sizes. In

addition, most studies rely on convenience samples, which may decrease the likelihood of

finding significant effects. Moreover, although there likely is a link between cognitive
37

abilities (intelligence) and epistemological beliefs. Many studies examining the relationship

between epistemological beliefs and academic achievement have not taken cognitive abilities

into account. Likewise, characteristics of the family environment that are conducive to

academic progress (e.g., socioeconomic standing, cultural capital) are often disregarded.

Hence, even in the studies that have found link between certainty beliefs and academic

achievement, third variable explanations may apply.

Gender

The growing concern regarding the regulating effect of gender on academic

achievement of students as well as other educational constructs such as motivation, self-

regulation and epistemological beliefs increase over time in order to accommodate the

changes brought about by different environmental evolutions. Researches that focused on

demonstrating importance of gender in epistemological thinking were already studied in the

past in connection with one’s academic achievement (Baxter Magolda, 1992; Belenky et al,

1986). However, there are many other studies that find almost no mediating effect of gender

in epistemological thinking or beliefs (King & Kitchener, 1994; Kuhn, 1991). Pintrich (2002)

has recently suggested that gender may not be as important determiner in the change of

academic achievement of students in association with the epistemological thinking when it is

defined in terms of separate dimensions of epistemological beliefs. That is, when individuals

are asked to focus on specific dimensions of epistemological beliefs, rather than more holistic

and general ways of thinking, gender does not intervene in any of the relationships existing

within these variables.


38

In the study of Trautwein and Lüdtke (2006) about the large-scale longitudinal study

on the impact of certainty beliefs on the school achievement of college students, they found

certainty beliefs to negatively predict school achievement, even when other important

variables were controlled. Certainty beliefs partly mediated the impact of cognitive abilities,

gender, and cultural capital on school achievement. Given that access to highly valued Welds

of study is competitive in Germany, the negative effect of certainty beliefs on final school

grades was by no means negligible.

Rennie (1998) argued that “if the issue of gender is to be considered effectively in

science teaching, account must be taken of the way gender is constructed in terms of

ethnicity, class, religion, race and often other variables as well.” In Baker’s study (2003),

gender and equity in science education have been reviewed since 1971. This review revealed

that between the years 1971 and 1978 not much emphasis was given on gender or equity. In

1980s, gender was investigated with respect to socioeconomic status, but this research lacked

sociological perspective. In late the 1980s, gender equity became an important issue in

several studies. By 1990s, researchers became interested in creating a school environment in

which girl-friendly instructional strategies, topics, and curriculum would be implemented.

Pintrich (2002) has suggested that there may not be important gender intervention

between students’ epistemological thinking and academic performance when the former is

described in terms of separate dimensions of epistemological beliefs. He argued that the

gender did not intercede with the relationship of epistemological beliefs as well as the

science achievement of secondary students when gender was considered in his study.

Gender effects on personal epistemological beliefs and performance of students have


39

been studied by a few researchers. Belenky et al. (1986) argued that at the early

developmental stage of personal epistemology, females view knowledge as handed down by

authority while males view knowledge as mastering what is handed down by authority. In

this argument, it is clear that at the same stage of the epistemological development females’

epistemological development is less complex than those of males with respect to authority.

On the contrary, Schommer’s (1993b) study investigated gender influence on students’

epistemological beliefs and academic achievement where girls were less likely to believe in

quick learning and fixed ability than the boys but this was statistically arbitrating in the

relationship between the students’ belief in simple and certain knowledge as well as their

achievement in science.

Meanwhile, although there were studies made in the past pertaining to the intervening

influence of gender, inconclusive reports were made regarding a series of research that

focused on the students’ epistemological beliefs and performance in science. Studies such as

those of Cano (2005), Baxter Magolda (1992), and Belenky et al, (1986) have found

important intercession of gender divergence in epistemological beliefs and science

achievement of students. In some studies, females showed more advanced beliefs than males

and relatively showed a more improved performance in school (Lodewyk, 2007; Mason et

al., 2006; Schommer and Dunnell, 1994; Schommer, 1993). Those, on the other hands, other

studies found almost no gender influence in epistemological thinking or beliefs and academic

accomplishment of students (Phan, 2008a; Hofer, 2006; Buehl et al, 2002; Kuhn and

Weinstock, 2000; King and Kitchener, 1994; Kuhn, 1991).


40

Age

Studies of Conley, et al. (2004) and Schommer- Aikins, et al. (2005) started to study

younger students’ epistemological beliefs to test the hypothesis that students develop

epistemological beliefs at early ages. It was argued that there should be a link between

children’s theory of mind and epistemological thinking (Chandler et al., 2002). Conley et al.

(2004) study demonstrated that elementary school students’ epistemological beliefs about

science changed over time, hence, their academic achievement in science.

After a nine-week science course about chemical properties of substances taught with

emphasis on science process skills instruction, the students develop more sophisticated

beliefs about both the source and certainty of knowledge. At this age level, development of

the students’ epistemological beliefs can be fostered by hands-on or inquiry oriented

instruction. Related to students’ academic achievement, it was found that maturing students

tend to be high achiever in science when they developed more sophisticated epistemological

beliefs.

In another study, Schommer-Aikins et al. (2005) observed that multidimensional

model is applicable for middle grade students. They found that as students get older, quick

learning and innate ability were observed as distinct factors in improving their science

performance. In younger students, these two factors emerged as a single factor. It was stated

that young children have a global theory of mind whereas older students’ mind possessed

knowledge as processes and components. Again at this age level studying aimlessly was

found as another factor in which younger students believed that learning occurs as chance not

as a strategic activity. Related to the achievement variable, authors found that both beliefs in
41

quick learning and innate ability are predictors of students’ mathematical problem solving

ability. Earlier studies in high school (Schommer, 1993) and college levels (Schommer,

1990), demonstrated that the development of more sophisticated epistemological beliefs

mediated by their age resulted in better use of mathematical problem solving skills and

comprehension of complex text. Schommer-Aikins et al. (2005) also found that general

epistemological beliefs and mathematical beliefs affect students’ mathematical performance

and overall academic achievement.

Parents’ Educational Attainment

In the path analysis regarding family environment, epistemological beliefs, learning

strategies, and academic performance of students, Cano and Cardelle-Ellawar (2008)

specified that parents’ educational level and family’s intellectual climate are two possible

roots of epistemological beliefs about the speed and effort involved in learning, which in

their turn influence students’ learning strategies and academic performance and mediate the

effects of family variables. The results of path analysis suggested that some family

characteristics can predict children’s epistemological beliefs. The lower the educational level

of the parents, the more likely their children will develop naïve beliefs about quick, effortless

learning, a result which is in agreement with those of Schommer (1990, 1993a). They

observed that these beliefs depend not only on parents’ educational attainments, but also on

how these attainments are converted into an interest in social, cultural, political, and

intellectual activities (family intellectual–cultural climate). The better the family’s

intellectual climate, the more sophisticated the child’s beliefs about learning and the higher
42

their performance academically. Although this finding is broadly consistent with those of

Schommer (1990, 1993b) as regards family upbringing, it goes somewhat too far.

Further, family characteristics were also directly related to the cognitive and

metacognitive learning strategies that students engage in their school learning, and to the

academic achievement they attain. However, they suggested differentiating between family’s

intellectual climate, which is linked to all the learning strategies but not to academic

performance, and parents’ educational level, which is associated only with surface strategy

but predicts academic performance. The present pattern of results is in line with those of the

literature (Adams et al., 2000; Cool & Keith, 1991; Ryan & Adams, 1995; Cano, 2007).

In their study, Kardash and Howell (2000) proposed that more important aspect of

mediating variables’ influence is the indirect effects more than its direct effect. The latter

showed clearly that a family related variables such as parents’ educational attainment and

occupation mediate the influence of quick and effortless learning on children’s learning

strategies and academic performance. Parents’ educational level and family’s intellectual

climate show roughly similar indirect effects, except for those on metacognitive learning

strategies, which are greater. The belief referred to is also indirectly related to surface

strategy and academic performance, but most strongly to metacognitive learning strategies:

Students whose families encourage discussion and an interest in culture and that are

intellectually inclined appear to predispose their children to have mature beliefs about

learning and indirectly predispose them to deploy strategies aimed at regulating and

controlling their learning (which in turn is the variable with the highest positive impact on

academic performance). Previous research shows the mediator role of epistemological beliefs
43

on comprehension test performance (Schommer et al., 1992).

Monthly Family Income

Studies were started to investigate the relationship among socioeconomic status,

students’ beliefs in learning and academic performance. Earlier understanding of socio-

cultural variables including the status of the family indicated a very important issue for

researchers. In this understanding, it is clear that family condition had been investigated in

relations with other variables such as cognitive abilities, attitudinal variables, sociocultural

variables, and home-family factors (Kahle & Meece, 1994).

Cano and Cardelle-Ellawar (2008) found that the students’ belief in quick, effortless

learning mediated the influence of family variables on surface strategy, metacognitive

learning strategies and academic performance. The better the family’s intellectual climate, the

higher the students’ mature beliefs about learning, and consequently, their deep and

metacognitive strategies and academic performance.

Research on home-family variables such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and

parental education revealed that these variables mediates on the students’ belief in authority

and quick learning and students’ science achievement. Family background exerted its

regulative influence in science achievement in an indirect way through the availability of

economic capacity, the quality of home environment, parents’ educational and occupational

aspirations, and the quality of the schools attended.

In a longitudinal study, Trautwein and Ludtke (2007) examined the relationship between

epistemological beliefs, specifically the certainty of knowledge and school achievement and
44

the subject choice of college majors of German students. Results of the study showed that

certainty beliefs were found to be correlated significantly and negatively with family socio-

economic status (r = -.09, p < .05), cultural capital (r = -.17, p < .05), cognitive abilities (r =

-.18, p < .05), and final school grades (r = -.23, p < .05). There was no significant correlation

between certainty beliefs and age or gender. The researchers further examined the role of

certainty beliefs as predictors of school achievement using structural equation modeling. The

family socio-economic status was specified to be mediating the influence of cognitive

abilities and certainty beliefs on final school grades. Family background, cultural capital,

cognitive abilities, gender, age, were used as the predictors of certainty beliefs and final

school grade as an indicator of achievement.

School Location

Students’ environment including the geographical location of the school, its cultural

facet and as well as the authoritative influence has been always been illustrated in the past

studies to be one of the learners’ determining factors associated with their performance.

School environment was described as the social atmosphere in which learning takes place

(Johnson & McClure, 2004). There is an increasing recognition about the importance of the

classroom environments in education research over the past 30 years in terms of

conceptualization, assessment, and investigation of students’ perceptions of the learning

environments at elementary, secondary and also higher education levels (Alridge, Fraser, &

Huang, 1999).

Lederman and Druger (1985) investigated the Biology classroom characteristics


45

affecting the students’ epistemological views and academic achievement in science. They

specifically focused on students’ views related to the developing nature of science. They

found that the significant relationship between students’ epistemological views and

performance in Biology were affected by classroom characteristics such as a supportive

environment, openness to students’ thoughts and questions, students-teacher interaction, an

environment relating school science subjects to everyday life, using a variety of instructional

media and use of inquiry-oriented questions during instruction, characteristics which were

equally found in both rural and urban settings. The researchers concluded that instructional

climate and teachers’ approach affect students’ beliefs about the nature of knowledge.

In the Philippines, a clear example why majority of students located in rural areas

perform poorly is that the schools where they are studying are most of the time inadequately

providing them with enough resources that would enhance their performance in school. The

lack of reading centers or establishments such as public libraries and lack of access to

internet often hold the students from being open to the acquisition of more knowledge thus

having poor performance. The wide range of differences between urban regions and rural

regions, between developed regions and developing regions have been discussed in view of

teacher opinion (Pei, 2004), sub-cultures (Teng, 2003) and economy development (Zhu,

2003).

In his study, Cheng, R. C. (1994) hypothesized a model in which epistemological

beliefs and learning environment in both urban and rural locations were assumed to influence

academic achievement directly, and furthermore epistemological beliefs influence academic


46

achievement indirectly through the effect of learning environment such as those induced by

teachers and the cultural characteristics of the school. Results of the study showed that both

epistemological beliefs and learning environment influenced students’ achievement directly.

Epistemological beliefs also influenced achievement indirectly by the moderating effect of

the learning environment of students. It was found that those students in the urban setting had

more positive academic achievement relative to their beliefs in quick and simple learning and

certainty of knowledge. This strong relationship was found to have been induced by the

indirect or mediating effect of school’s related factors to the beliefs of the students.

The teachers' belief about learning may also be one of the determinants of how

students have mental construct or their own epistemological beliefs. The geographical area

where teachers teach has been reported to be an important factor influencing students’

beliefs. The institutional context where teachers work has an effect on the educational beliefs

of teachers as well (Lim & Torr, 2007). Martin and Yin (1999) examined the mediating

influence of classroom management beliefs and found that rural teachers adapted to a

significantly higher extent of teacher induced interventionist instructional approach, while

urban teachers adopted significantly more student based interventionist approach. A hidden

variable in the former study is whether schools are positioned in a developed or developing

province. In their study, Nisbet and Grimbeek (2004) argued that school location and the

related school size is expected to have a mediating effect on primary teachers’ beliefs and

practices and therefore may influence how their students believe in the acquisition of

knowledge.
47

Information and Communication Technology

Research has suggested that the epistemological beliefs of learners may influence the

learning processes that students choose to engage in (Hofer, 2001), which have been referred

to as acts of self-regulated learning. In the online learning environment, the development of

self-regulated learning skills is particularly important as the online learning environment has

been indicated as requiring students to employ more self-regulated learning skills (Fisher &

Baird, 2005). Tsai and Chuang (2005) explored the association between epistemological

beliefs and the meta-cognitive learning preferences among learners in the online

environment. In finding a significant association, they suggest that educators must be aware

of the epistemological beliefs of learners in order to successfully implement self-regulated

learning activities in the online learning environment. The study presented an examination of

the relationship between epistemological beliefs and self-regulated learning skills associated

with academic achievement as mediated by their knowledge of manipulating online lessons.

In another study, Pieschl et al. (2007) investigated the relationship between the

epistemological beliefs, self-regulated learning behaviors and performance among biology

students learning the topic of genetics with hypertext. They found that more sophisticated or

more constructivist-oriented epistemological beliefs were significantly associated with

students being able to process more information as well as being associated with more

positive learning outcomes. The results of this study indicate that epistemological beliefs and

self-regulated learning skills among online learners may be associated with each other and

each in turn associated with academic achievement. The positive relationship among these

variables was significantly moderated by their knowledge in manipulating online lessons.


48

Moderating Variables and Learning Styles

Gender

Gender has been found to exert its moderating effect on the students’ learning styles.

Males tend to be more kinesthetic and tactual, and if they have third modality strength, it is

often visual. Males also need more mobility in a more informal environment than females

(Dunn & Griggs, 1995). They are more non-conforming and peer motivated than females.

Females tend to be relatively conforming and either self-, parent-, or teacher-motivated

(Dunn & Griggs, 1995). Females, more than males, tend to be auditory, authority-oriented,

and better able to sit passively in conventional classroom desks and chairs. Females also tend

to need significantly more quietness while learning (Pizzo et al, 1990), are more self-

motivated and conform more than males.

Witkin et al. (1977) study on cognitive learning styles found a potential role of

gender as a moderating aspect of learning style – field dependence and field independence

while Logan & Thomas (2002) found gender in learning styles among distance education

students undertaking computing has been a potential demonstrator in the variation of learning

styles among male and female students.

The study by Philbin et al. (1995) includes findings of a significant mediation in the

learning styles of men and women surveyed. In the study, women were found to

predominantly correspond to the Diverger/Converger group while men preferred the

Assimilator style.
49

Age

Learning styles may change as individuals grow older (Dunn & Griggs, 1995). Some

individuals change uniquely and then some do not change at all as they get older.

Individuals’ sociological, emotional and physiological preferences change as a person gets

older. Sociological preferences could be an individual’s choice whether to learn alone or with

a group. Emotional preferences can include motivation which fluctuates from day to day,

class to class, and teacher to teacher. If a student is interested in a topic and the presenter’s

teaching style matches the student’s learning style, then the student’s motivation will be

greater. Sound preferences, temperature preferences, and seating preferences also change as

individuals get older (Dunn & Griggs, 1995). Clearly the intervening effect of age is clearly

seen as the students get more mature in school.

While learning style has been defined as a consistent pattern of behavior, it appears

that it changes with age and experience. Researches of Daughenbaugh (1985) and McCarthy

(1985), showed that students’ preference for learning and teaching styles were found

moderated by both age group and gender. Further, Dorsey and Pierson (1984) found that age

influenced the relationship between the students’ learning styles and their academic

performance.

In the study exploring the learning styles of Business students (Australian and

NESBs) to determine if the relationship between their performance in school and their

preferred learning orientations is affected by cross-cultural and other demographic

differences such as gender and age, Teo (2002) pointed out that the learning styles of the

Australian Business students were related to their academic performance. Moreover, students
50

who were less than 20 years scored lowest in their Pragmatist learning orientation. Matured

students (41-50 years age group) scored highest in their learning interest when compared

with the younger age groups.

School Location

There are some studies in the past particularly focused on the relationship between

learning environment and students’ learning approaches. Campbell et al. (1996) found that there

is a relationship between students’ learning approaches, teacher’s instructional processes and

form of assessment. Similarly, Dart and his colleagues (2000) conducted a study investigating the

relationship between learning environments and students’ learning approaches and academic

performance. Results of their study found that relationship between students’ academic

achievement and learning approaches was significantly moderated by the effect exerted by the

third variable, school location.

Another line of research in the classroom environment literature particularly focused the

relationship between learning environment, learning approaches and academic performance of

the students. It was stated that students’ perceptions of the learning approach that influenced their

performance, was necessarily mediated by the learning environment (Enwistle, 1991). Results of

study showed that when students perceived their course unit to be generally supportive and

encouraging of their learning, sensitive to students’ mental processing in learning, concerned

with their capacity to learn independently, and supportive of study practices expected of higher

education, they tended to use deeper approaches to study which in turn pushes their academic

performance positively. The perception of students related to the learning environment directly

determines approach of learning and academic performance; whether they tackle it in a


51

superficial way or strive for meaning (Eley, 1992; Enwistle & Tait, 1990; Ramsden, 1979; 1990;

Trigwell & Prosser,1991).


52

METHODOLOGY

Theoretical and Conceptual Framework

This study is anchored on Schommer-Aikins (2004) embedded theory of

epistemological beliefs where five factors of personal epistemology would be analyzed in

conjunction with other cognitive and affective learner characteristics. In Schommer-Aikins’

early work (Schommer, 1990), she suggested that personal epistemology is comprised of five

distinct factors that exist on continua. Stated from their naïve pole, these factors were: simple

knowledge, certain knowledge, innate ability, quick learning, and omniscient authority.

Briefly, the simple knowledge continuum stemmed from the belief that all knowledge is

rudimentary to the belief that knowledge was complex. Beliefs in certain knowledge range

from those who hold that all knowledge is concrete and certain to those who acknowledge

the dynamic and changing nature of knowledge. Beliefs about learning ability range from the

view that such ability is innate and unchanging to one that acknowledged the benefits of hard

work and self-improvement. Those who scored towards the naïve pole of quick knowledge

thionk that learning happens quickly or not at all, while learners with more sophisticated

beliefs acknowledge that some topics take time and effort. Finally, the omniscient authority

factor, distinct from the previous beliefs regarding knowledge and learning, deals with an

individual’s faith in authority figures, ranging from complete trust to educated skepticism.

Schommer-Aikins (Schommer, 1990) hypothesized that individuals’ positions on

these factors are relatively independent, and that more naïve beliefs predict poorer academic

performance, particularly on those tasks involving complex or nuanced topics (e.g. writing

essays, examining issues from multiple perspectives). She also believed that these
53

epistemological beliefs are domain-general.

In recent publication, Schommer-Aikins (2004) advocated an embedded theory of

epistemological beliefs where she called for more integrative investigations into the relations

between epistemological beliefs and other constructs of interest to educational psychologists.

She emphasized the need for an embedded systemic model of epistemological beliefs, that is,

a model that includes many other aspects of cognition and affect, comes from the assumption

that epistemological beliefs do not function in a vacuum (Greene et al., 2003). As such, it is

important to test personal epistemology's influence in the presence of other constructs that

are important to learning such as self-efficacy, strategy use and motivation (Hofer, 2005).

An extensive body of research addresses beliefs about knowledge and learning or

epistemological beliefs (Elby, 2001; Roth and Roychoudury, 1997; Hewson 1985). These

studies found that students' epistemological beliefs about scientific knowledge and learning

have important influence on their approach to learning.

The recommendations and research of others (Hoffer, 2005; 1999; Paulsen &

Feldman, 2005; Schommer-Aikins, 2004) allow for the prediction of the interrelationship

between beliefs about knowledge and learning (epistemological beliefs) may have on

learning approaches/styles and classroom performance. How individuals view knowledge

and learning will logically seem to have an influence on their beliefs on how to engage on

academic tasks. Theories of personal epistemology suggest that students with simplistic or

naïve beliefs about knowledge may struggle with more nuanced academic subjects, thus,

affecting their academic performance (Muis, 2004).

As the students define their learning in accordance with their own beliefs, they
54

develop their own manner or style in acquiring knowledge. These students develop their

distinctive behavior which serves as an indicator or person’s mediation utilities and capacities

(Gregor, as cited by Leoveras, 2001). Together, the student’s personal epistemological beliefs

and learning styles shape the learner’s capacity to perceive and handle information and

interpret it in line with their own mental construct. In the light of this study, it is important

that a student understands himself in order to explore his inner self, his own perspectives and

his own assumptions about his experiences in and out of the classroom as his source of

knowledge.

Personal epistemological beliefs play an important role in one’s learning process. This

study tried to find out if the learner's beliefs mirror his own style of learning. For example, if

more sophisticated learners who construct their own meaning would have the tendency to

become independent in the learning process. On the other hand, those who held naïve beliefs

have high regard of authority and believe that the ability to learn is fixed at birth may have

the tendency to practice avoidant and dependent learning styles.

The modification in the relationship between the students’ learning styles and

epistemological beliefs and academic performance are perceived to be the effect of link

among biological, sociocultural and environmental elements (De Guzman, 2005; Ickens and

Layden, 1978). Age and gender are biological and social factors. School's location, ICT

accessibility, family income, parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation are

environmental factors. They were chosen as moderator variables between learning styles and

academic performance and between epistemological beliefs and academic performance.

This study was anchored on the assumptions that students' ways of conceiving and
55

espousing knowledge (epistemological belief) and recognizing and meting out concepts and

experiences to learn (learning styles) correlate with their academic performance.

Consequently, this study was also conceptualized to find out whether learning styles and

epistemological beliefs would predict the academic performance of the students in Biology. It

also assumed that this learning style- academic performance and epistemological beliefs-

academic performance links are affected by moderation of the students’ age, gender, school's

location, ICT accessibility, monthly family income, parents’ educational attainment, and

parents’ occupation.

Learning styles and epistemological beliefs were the independent variables whereas

academic performance was the dependent variable. Students’ age, gender, school's location,

ICT accessibility, monthly family income, parents’ educational background, parents’

occupation were the moderator variables.

Figure 1 shows the hypothesized relationships between the independent variables (i.e.

learning styles and epistemological beliefs) and the dependent variable (i.e. academic

performance). It also presents age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly

family income, parents’ educational background, parents’ occupation as moderator variables.

Independent Variables
56

Dimensions
Certainty of Knowledge
Simple Knowledge
LEARNING STYLES Innate Ability
Omniscient Authority
Dependent Quick Learning
EPISTEMOLOGICAL
Independent BELIEFS
Collaborative
Participant Types
Avoidant Naïve
Competitive Emergent
Sophisticated

Moderating variables
Gender
Age
a

a
V

g
n

e
d
o
M
r

r
i

i
t

School’s Location
ICT Accessibility
Monthly Family Income
Parents’ Educational
Background
Parents’ Occupation

Academic
Performance in Biology

Dependent Variable

Figure 1. Diagram of the hypothesized relationships among independent,


dependent and moderator variables
57

Operational Definition of Terms

To better understand the research concepts, several terms in this study were

operationally defined.

Academic Performance refers to the final grade obtained by the students in Biology. The

following categorization was used:

Qualitative Description Range

High Academic Performance 88 and above

Average Academic Performance 80 - 87

Low Academic Performance below 80

Epistemological beliefs refer to how individuals come to know, the theories and beliefs they

have about knowing, and the manner in which such epistemological premises are part of and

an influence on cognitive processes of thinking and reasoning (Hofer & Pintrich, 1997).

Sophisticated Beliefs refer to the beliefs that knowledge is tentative, complex,

derived by reason, acquired gradually, and that the ability to learn can be changed.

Emergent Beliefs refer to the beliefs consisting of combined characteristics

found in sophisticated and naïve beliefs.

Naïve Beliefs refer to the beliefs that knowledge is absolute, simple, handed

down by authority, acquired quickly or not at all and that the ability to learn is fixed

at birth.
58

Epistemological belief dimensions refer to the aspect of personal

epistemological belief that simultaneously occur in a more or less independent

fashion in a person’s belief of the nature, acquisition and processing of knowledge.

Schommer (1990) identified five of them namely:

Certainty of Knowledge ranges from knowledge is absolute to knowledge is

tentative.

Simple Knowledge ranges from knowledge is organized as isolated bits and

pieces to knowledge is organized as highly interwoven concepts.

Omniscient Authority ranges from knowledge is handed down by authority

to knowledge is derived through reason.

Innate Ability ranges from the ability to learn is fixed at birth to the ability to

learning can be changed.

Quick Learning ranges from knowledge is acquired quickly or not-at-all to

knowledge is acquired gradually.

Epistemological Belief Inventory (EBI) is a research instrument used to

determine respondents’ epistemological beliefs in Biology. The EBI is scored on a 5-

point Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Higher scores

indicate a person is more naïve.

Based upon the scoring range from 32-160 points, students are categorized to

be sophisticated when he gains 32-64 points, emergent with 65-112 points and naïve

with 113-160 points. Statements towards sophisticated beliefs are scored reversely.
59

For statements leaning towards naive epistemological beliefs, the following

scoring were used:

Strongly Agree –5
Moderately Agree –4
Undecided –3
Moderately Disagree –2
Strongly Disagree –1

On the other hand, reverse scoring was applied to statements gearing towards

sophisticated epistemological beliefs:

Strongly Agree –1
Moderately Agree –2
Undecided –3
Moderately Disagree –4
Strongly Disagree –5

Learning Styles refer to how the students learn best. In this study, the Grasha-Reichmann

learning style was used. It categorized student’s learning styles into six categories, namely:

independent, avoidant, collaborative, dependent, participative and competitive. As an

instrument, it uses 60 questions with 10 equally distributed questions per style. These are

measured through a 5-point disagree-agree scale, agreement being high. Each dimension of

learning styles has 10 questions where the students can obtain scores ranging from 10 – 50

points. This, in turn, identifies each student with one predominantly style depending on the

dimension where he scored high. The following are the descriptions of each learning style

(Velasquez, 2007):

Independent refers to the student’s learning style that prefers to work alone

and require a little direction from the teacher. Independent students are curious and

confident learners. They prefer to work on their own in individual activities.


60

Dependent refers to the student’s learning style whereby students who have

this style see the teacher as a source of information, want to be told what to do, and

learn only what is required.

Collaborative refers to the learning styles where students work well with

others and enjoy cooperative learning and working in groups. They cooperate with

teachers and like to work with others.

Avoidant refers to the learning style of the students who tend to be at the

lower end of the grade distribution; they tend to have high absenteeism and take a

little responsibility on their learning.

Competitive refers to the learning style of the students where students see the

classroom as a win-lose situation in which they must win. Students who have this

learning style enjoy competitive activities.

Participative refers to the learning style of students who show eagerness to

learn course content, enjoy learning, and take responsibility on their own learning.

Range and Description of the Mean refers to the scale that indicates the level of agreement
for both the students’ learning styles and epistemological beliefs. It consists of numerical
values and qualitative descriptions.

1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree


1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree
In addition to this, because some statements under the students’ epistemological

beliefs were oriented towards sophisticated pole, reverse range and description of the mean

was utilized. The scale below shows the reverse range and description of the mean:

1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Agree


1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Agree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Disagree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Disagree
61

Moderator Variables refer to the third variable that modifies the original relationship

between the independent and the dependent variables. These include the respondents’ socio-

demographic characteristics such as age, gender, school's location, ICT accessibility, family

income, parents’ educational attainment, and parents’ occupation.

Age refers to the specific age of the respondents at the time they took Biology

(SY 2009-2010).

Gender refers to whether the respondent is male or female.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility refers to

students’ access to information and communication technology such as internet,

educational electronic gadgets, reading centers and libraries.

Monthly Family Income refers to the monthly total gross income from all

sources of the family. It was categorized as “low family income” if it falls below and

within the mean and “high family income” if above the mean.

Parents’ Educational Attainment refers to the highest academic achievement

attained by the parents of the respondents.

Parents’ Occupation refers to the job, work or occupation of the respondents’

parents. Parents’ occupation may be categorized as blue collar or white collar jobs.

White collar job refers to those where activities are performed using

managerial, mental or professional skills like teaching, nursing, engineering,


62

architecture.

Blue collar job refers to those people’s occupations involving manual,

muscular application of unskilled, semi-skilled or highly skilled labor like

farmer, barber, baker, driver, utility worker and laborer.

Non-earners refer to occupation which has no wage or salary like

retired employee and homemaking.

School's Location refers to school's area classification as to rural or urban. In the

context of this study, urban schools are those nearer to the town proper where there

are several places that serve as sources of additional information for the respondents

such as internet cafe, municipal library and reading center. On the other hand, rural

schools are those located at least 8 kilometers away from the town proper and those

which are deemed the opposite of the other classification.

Research Design

This study used an explanatory research design employing multiple regression

analysis to explore the potential influence of learning styles and epistemological beliefs as

predictors of Biology performance of students in the secondary schools of CLSU. It also used

descriptive-correlational analysis to describe the interrelationship of learning styles,

epistemological beliefs and academic performance of the students. Profiles of the

respondents' academic performance, learning styles and epistemological beliefs were

determined. The researcher specifically investigated the correlation between academic

performance and (a) learning styles and (b) epistemological belief of the respondents.
63

Moreover, the researcher determined whether or not the predictability of academic

achievement from learning styles and epistemological belief was improved when age, sex,

school’s location, ICT accessibility, monthly family income, parents’ educational

background and parents’ occupation were considered.

The Sample

The respondents were students from the three laboratory high schools of CLSU

(ULHS-Bibiclat, ULHS-Palusapis and ULHS-Pinili), the Agricultural Science and

Technology School and the University Science High School. The respondents took their

Biology subject during the S.Y. 2009-2010.

A total of 147 students who were randomly chosen from the Biology classes of the

five high schools for SY 2009-2010 were requested to participate in the survey. Random

sampling was used to identify the respondents and to gather the needed data. Using the

formula of population sampling as cited by De Guzman (2005), n = N / 1 + Ne2, where n is

the total sample, N is the total population and e represents margin of error (5%), the

researcher figured out the appropriate percentage from the total number of population in each

school. Based on the formula, from the total population of 240 Biology students from the

five high schools of CLSU, a total of 147 students or 61% was identified. The distribution of

the respondents by school location is found in Table 1.

Table 1. Distribution of respondents by school location


64

Total population
School / Location Sample size
per school
Rural
ULHS - Bibiclat 49 30
ULHS - Palusapis 50 31
ULHS - Pinili 44 27
Urban
ASTS 25 15
USHS 72 44
Total 240 147

Instrumentation

This study used a questionnaire divided into three parts. Part I comprises the socio-

demographic characteristics of the respondents inquiring the age, gender, school's location,

ICT accessibility, monthly family income, parents’ educational background, parents’

occupation and the respondent’s final grade in Biology. Part II constituted statements

pertaining to the personal epistemological beliefs in Biology of the respondents. Part III, on

the other hand, includes the list of statements that identifies the learning styles of the

respondents in Biology.

Sources of data for this study came from: (a) Student's Permanent Record, (b)

Student’s responses to Grasha-Reichmann Learning Style Inventory and (c) Students’

responses to Epistemological Beliefs Inventory (adapted from Schraw et al, 2002).

Student's Permanent Record


65

To authenticate the grades indicated by the respondents in the survey questionnaire,

the researcher requested the transcript of records from the registrar of each school. The

students’ permanent record is an official document which contains information regarding the

student's academic performance during the school year. This was used to validate the

respondents’ final grade in Biology. The final grade in Biology was used as a measure of the

respondent's academic performance.

Socio-Demographic Characteristics

The first part of the research instrument sought information regarding the

respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics. Data on age, gender, school’s location, ICT

capability, parents’ educational background, monthly family income and parents’ occupation

were included. These data were treated as moderating variables.

Grasha-Reichmann Learning Style Inventory (adapted from Grasha-Reichmann et al, 1996)

The Learning Styles Inventory of Grasha and Reichmann (Appendix A) was divided

into six categories namely, avoidant, competitive, and dependent which were thought to be

negative; and participative, collaborative and independent which were thought to be positive.

The Grasha-Reichmann Learning Style Inventory is composed of 60 items which reflect the

respondents' learning styles as to negative or positive learning styles. The 60 statements were

scattered throughout so that the respondents would not have any clue or pattern that would

easily identify them on a certain learning style.


66

To describe the level of agreement of the respondents in this inventory, the range and

description of mean for each description was used. It is described as follows:

1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree


1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

Epistemological Belief Inventory (adapted from Schraw et al, 2002)

To measure the epistemological beliefs of the respondents, the Epistemic Belief

Inventory (Appendix A) developed by Schraw, et al (2002) was utilized. This inventory, the

32-item Epistemic Beliefs Inventory, was used to measure five different factors regarding the

nature of knowledge and the origins of individuals' abilities. The five factors were originally

developed by Bendixen, et al. (1998) and based on earlier work of Schommer (1990). The

factors include certain knowledge (i.e., absolute knowledge exists and will eventually be

known), simple knowledge (i.e., knowledge consists of discrete facts), omniscient authority

(i.e., authorities have access to otherwise inaccessible knowledge), quick learning (i.e.,

learning occurs in a quick or not-at-all fashion), and innate ability (i.e., the ability to acquire

knowledge is innate).

In order to fit in this study, the researcher reworded and/or added words or phrases

such as “in biology class”, “of the biology teacher”, “of concepts in biology” to specifically

cater to epistemological beliefs of the respondents in Biology subject. Statements leaning

towards naïve epistemological beliefs were scored as Strongly Agree – 5, Moderately Agree

– 4, Undecided – 3, Moderately disagree – 2, Strongly disagree – 1. On the other hand, the


67

following reverse scoring were applied to statements gearing towards sophisticated

epistemological beliefs: Strongly Agree – 1, Moderately Agree – 2, Undecided – 3,

Moderately disagree – 4, Strongly disagree – 5. Higher scores on this instrument indicated

naïve epistemological beliefs while lower scores indicated sophisticated epistemological

beliefs. The reported internal consistency of the instrument was α = .83 (Schraw et al, 2002).

The students’ intensity of agreement and disagreement regarding each dimension of

epistemological beliefs was described using the following range and description of means:

1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree


1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

Due to orientation towards sophisticated pole, some statements under the students’

epistemological beliefs used reverse range and description of the mean. The scale below

shows the reverse range and description of the mean:

1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Agree


1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Agree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Disagree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Disagree

Data Gathering Procedure

Before the researcher began collecting data from the respondents, approval was first

sought from the school principals of the five high schools of CLSU to ask for their assistance

regarding this study.


68

The respondents’ final grade in Biology was retrieved from the registrars of the five

high schools of CLSU. To identify the students’ epistemological beliefs, learning styles and

some socio-demographic profiles, a questionnaire was prepared which included the Grasha-

Reichmann Learning Style Inventory, and Epistemological Belief Inventory developed by

Schraw et al. (2002).

Before administering the questionnaires, the researcher oriented the students on the

purpose of the study. The non-academic, non-evaluative nature of the test was emphasized to

encourage the students to accomplish the questionnaires, objectively. They were also assured

that the data they provided will be used solely for research purposes. Moreover, the students

were reminded to feel free to approach the researcher should they need help in any part of the

tests. The respondents were given sufficient time to answer the test instrument. If they tried

to submit the survey questionnaire with unanswered items, they were prompted to go back

and complete missed items.

Statistical Analyses

Answers to the problems for this descriptive correlational study were provided

through different statistical techniques. Level of confidence was set at 0.05.

1. A profile of the students' epistemological beliefs, learning styles and socio-

demographic characteristics in terms of age, gender, school's location, ICT

accessibility, monthly family income, parents’ educational background, parents’

occupation was determined using frequencies and percentages.


69

2. A profile of the respondents' academic performance in Biology was obtained with the

use of frequencies, percentages, mean and standard deviation.

3. Pearson Product-Moment Coefficient of Correlation (Pearson r) was used to

determine the relationship between: (a) epistemological beliefs and academic

performance; (b) learning styles and academic performance; and (c) epistemological

beliefs and learning styles.

4. Multiple regression analysis was used in order to find out if learning styles and

epistemological beliefs would predict the academic performance of the students in

Biology.

5. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to find out whether or not age, gender,

school's location, ICT accessibility, monthly family income, parents’ educational

background, parents’ occupation significantly moderate the relationship between (a)

epistemological beliefs and academic performance and (b) learning styles and

academic performance.
70

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

This chapter presents the findings regarding the relationship of the respondents'

epistemological beliefs and learning styles as the independent variables and their consequent

relationship on the academic performance of the students in Biology. This chapter also

presents the possible predictors of academic performance as a result of regression analysis. In

addition, this chapter also shows the impact of socio-demographic characteristics of the

respondents such as age, gender, school location, ICT accessibility, parents' educational

background and parents' occupation referred to as moderating variables on the relationship of

epistemological beliefs and learning styles to the academic performance of students. The

results are discussed in sequential order as they appear in the objectives of this study.

Learning Styles of the Respondents

Learning style describes the process learners used to sort and process information.

Learning style is an important factor in several areas including students’ academic

achievement, how students learn and teachers teach, and student-teacher interaction (Witkin,

et al. 1977).

Results revealed that respondents were more collaborative than competitive, more

dependent than independent and more participant than avoidant. This result is further

supported by the percentage of respondents that scored high, moderate and low in the

learning style inventory (Appendix D). Figure 2 shows the distribution of learning styles

among the respondents.


71

Figure 2. Distribution of respondents’ learning style

Collaborative Learning Style

Table 2a shows the level of agreement of the respondents pertaining to collaborative

statements as the respondents’ most dominant learning style. The collaborative learning style

had an overall of 3.89 which means moderately agree. The students strongly agreed that

activities of different sorts in Biology class and learning through cooperative effort with their

teachers and classmates were the most effective way to learn Biology. However, they just

moderately agreed that they enjoy discussing their ideas about course contents with others.

Most of them enjoy hearing what others think about the issues raised in class. Students

believe that learning the material was a cooperative effort between students and teachers.

These students agreed that working with others in class activities was something they

enjoyed doing; that they should be encouraged to share more of their ideas with each other.

Moreover, the students believe that an important part of studying Biology is learning to get

along with other people.


72

Table 2a. Responses of the students toward collaborative learning styles

Collaborative Statement Description

Working with other students on class activities is something I 4.24 Strongly Agree
enjoy doing in my Biology class.

I enjoy discussing my ideas about Biology with other 3.54 Moderately


students. Agree

I enjoy hearing what other students think about issues raised 3.62 Moderately
in Biology class. Agree

Students should be encouraged to share more of their ideas 3.99 Moderately


with each other in Biology class. Agree

I like to study for tests in Biology with other students. 3.62 Moderately
Agree
Biology classes make me feel like part of a team where 4.09 Moderately
people help each other learn. Agree

An important part of studying Biology is learning to get along 3.87 Moderately


with other people. Agree

Learning the lessons in Biology is a cooperative effort 4.20


Strongly Agree
between students and teachers.

I am willing to help other students out when they do not 3.82 Moderately
understand something in Biology. Agree

I enjoy participating in small group activities during Biology 3.90 Moderately


class. Agree
Moderately
Overall 3.89 Agree

Legend:
1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree
1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree
73

This result implies that most of the students enjoy working in cooperation with their

peers. They usually function in the classroom by sharing their ideas, views and talents with

others. These students prefer group discussions or group activities where they can freely

interact with others while learning. Students who have collaborative learning styles are

willing to help other students when they do not understand something in Biology.

The dominance of collaborative learning style among the students may be attributed

to the kind of teaching strategy the teachers use in their classroom. The thrust of Philippine

education today has been geared towards student-centered goal where students are

encouraged to create their own learning experiences via different teaching strategies among

which is the cooperative learning approach. In cooperative learning approach, the teachers

incorporate the idea that the best learning occurs when students are actively engaged in the

learning process and working in collaboration with other students to accomplish a shared

goal. Kagan (1994) contends that when cooperative learning is incorporated into the

classroom, research suggests students learn with greater depth and complexity while enjoying

the experience even more. Students who are asked to work together also tend to be less

intimidated by the task and will work at the task with greater intensity for time. In addition,

Kain (2003) explained that in learner-centered approaches, the construction of knowledge is

shared, and learning is achieved through learners’ engagement with various activities.

In her study about the different learning styles of selected students of Munoz National

High School, Velasquez (2007) also found that the most dominant learning style in the three

student groupings (Mathematics, Science and English) was collaborative. Majority of the

respondents were found to have inclination for group discussions, group activities and group
74

dynamics.

Participant Learning Style

The next most dominant learning style is participant which has a of 3.82 which

means respondents moderately agreed on almost all the statements pertaining to this learning

preference. The respective means and descriptions of the students’ responses are presented in

Table 2b.

Participative students are characterized by the willingness to take responsibilities of

self-learning. The always look forward to partaking in every class activity and can be seen

with enthusiasm to do those which are required and optional requirements in class. They are

the most obedient students in class because they follow whatever the teacher tells to do. They

love to show what they got and always have the willingness to accomplish everything with

their peers, classmates and teachers as well.

Davis et al. (1990) maintain that the use of cooperative learning consequently

promotes participative approach among the students and in turn helps students clarify

concepts and ideas through discussion and debate. Because the level of discussion within

groups is significantly greater than in instructor led discussions, students receive immediate

feedback, thus advancing the level of discussion. It is through this process of interacting with

Table 2b. Responses of students toward participant learning styles

Participant Statement Description

I do whatever is asked of me to learn in my Biology class. 3.74 Moderately Agree

I find that Biology class is worth attending. 3.74 Moderately Agree


75

I get more out of going to Biology class than staying at


home. 3.49 Moderately Agree
It is my responsibility to get as much as I can out of my
Biology class. 3.82 Moderately Agree
Classroom activities in Biology class are interesting.
4.18 Strongly Agree
I try to participate as much as I can in all activities in
4.24 Strongly Agree
Biology.
I do all assignments in Biology well whether or not I think
4.03 Moderately Agree
they are interesting.
I typically complete assignments in Biology before their
3.84 Moderately Agree
deadlines.
I complete required assignments in Biology as well as those
3.84 Moderately Agree
that are optional.
In my Biology class, I often sit toward the front of the
3.31 Undecided
room.
Overall 3.82 Moderately Agree

Legend:
1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree
1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

students of differing viewpoints that cognitive growth is stimulated. Emphasis is placed on

learning how to cooperate in order to find the best possible solution to a problem. According

to the constructivist approach, when students formulate their own solutions in this manner,

they are truly thinking critically (Davis et al., 1990).

The students strongly agree in the statements stating that activities in Biology class
76

are interesting and most of them try to participate as much as they can in all the activities in

Biology. They moderately agreed on statements that they would do whatever is asked of

them, that the Biology class is worth attending, that they get more information in the Biology

class, that they feel that it is their responsibility to get as much information in their Biology

class, that they do assignments in the Biology class whether they think they are interesting or

not, and that they complete assignments whether they are optional or required. They were

undecided, however, whether they would want to sit toward the front of the room.

As earlier stated, most respondents in this study have high regards with the authority

of the teacher in the classroom. In a setting where the teacher’s authority is prevalent,

students are expected to obey or abide by the teachers. This may have exerted influence on

the students to become more participative on almost every activity in the classroom.

Santos (2008) reported in his study among 120 high school students taking up

Biology that students tended to hold positive learning styles such as participative and

independent learning styles when exposed to activities that address these types of learning

styles. These learning styles had particular positive influence on the high academic

achievement of the respondents.

Dependent Learning Style

Statements under dependent learning styles were shown in Table 2c. The means and

their corresponding descriptions for each statement were also presented in the same table.

The overall of the statements under dependent learning style is 3.77 which is moderately
77

agree.

Table 2c. Responses of the students toward dependent learning styles

Dependent Statement Description

I want my Biology teacher to state exactly what he expects 3.72 Moderately


from the students. Agree

I rely on my Biology teacher to tell me what is important for 3.31 Undecided


me to learn.

I want clear and detailed instructions in Biology on how to 4.24 Strongly Agree
complete assignments.
I complete assignments in Biology exactly the way my 3.82 Moderately
Biology teacher tells me to do them. Agree
Trying to decide what to study or how to do assignments in 2.94 Undecided
Biology makes me uncomfortable.

Students should be more closely supervised by Biology 3.96 Moderately


teachers in doing Biology projects. Agree

My notes contain almost everything the teacher said in my 3.77 Moderately


Biology class. Agree

I prefer Biology lessons that are highly organized. 3.88 Moderately


Agree
Students should be told exactly what topics are to be covered 3.96 Moderately
on Biology exams. Agree

I want Biology teachers to have outlines or notes on the 4.06 Moderately


board. Agree

Moderately
Overall 3.77 Agree

Legend:
1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree
1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree
78

The students strongly agreed that Biology teachers should have clear and well-

explained instructions in doing their assignments or activities in the class. The students

moderately agreed on the statements stating that they want their teacher to exactly state what

to expect from the students, that they rely much on whatever their teachers say, that they

accomplish their requirements exactly the way their teacher wants them, that they wanted

close supervision from their teachers whenever there is a class activity, that their notes

contain exactly almost everything the teacher said, that they want highly organized lessons,

that they should be told of what topics are to be covered in Biology and they wanted notes or

outlines from their teachers. They were undecided, however, when asked if they rely heavily

on their Biology teacher regarding the most important concepts that students should learn in

class.

The cultural perspective on the belief of the authority of the teachers may be pointed

as one of the many attributing factors why students become dependent. The relative high

percentage of respondents in this study who have this kind of learning style suggests that

many students heavily rely on their teachers with regard to learning Biology.

In a study made by Witkin et al. (1977) about the pre-service teacher of agriculture

education, they found that individuals who prefer a field-dependent learning style tend to

perceive globally, have more difficult time solving problems, are more attuned to their social

environment, learn better when concepts are humanized, and tend to favor a “spectator

approach” to learning which means they rely on their teacher and classmates as to what’s

going to happen inside the class. Additionally, individuals preferring a field-dependent


79

learning style have been found to be more extrinsically motivated and learn better when

organization and structure are provided by the teacher.

Independent Learning Style

Independent learning style is characterized by autonomy trait from the students who

work alone and require a little direction from the teacher. In this study, the overall for

independent learning style is 3.48 which is described as moderately agreed. The overall and

descriptions of statement under independent learning style are presented in Table 2d.

Table 2d. Responses of students toward independent learning styles

Independent Statement Description

I prefer to work by myself on assignments in my Biology 3.64 Moderately Agree


class.
My ideas about Biology lessons often are as good as those
3.20 Undecided
in the textbook.
I study what is important to me and not always what my
3.29 Undecided
Biology teacher says is important.
I learn a lot of Biology on my own. 2.69 Undecided
I feel very confident about my ability to learn on my own
3.51 Moderately Agree
in Biology.
I like to develop my own ideas about Biology lesson. 3.81 Moderately Agree
I have my own ideas about how Biology classes should be
3.22 Undecided
run.
If I like a topic in Biology, I try to find out more about it on
4.02 Moderately Agree
my own.
I prefer to work on class projects and assignments in
3.59 Moderately Agree
Biology by myself.
When I don't understand something in Biology, I first try to Moderately Agree
3.79
figure it out for myself.

Overall 3.48 Moderately Agree


80

Legend 1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree


1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
Respondents 4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

moderately agreed to statements about their confidence and their ability in learning ideas in

Biology. They also expressed their agreement towards learning concepts, making their own

projects and assignments, and figuring unclear ideas in Biology on their own. On the other

hand, they were undecided whether their ideas are as good as those in Biology textbooks and

about having their own idea on how a Biology class should be run. They also cast doubt on

their ability to seek information from other sources rather than from their teacher.

Independent students are curious and confident learners. Often, students with this type

of learning style find themselves understanding things on their own whenever possible and

would just turn to teachers in time for confirmation. Understanding the theory of

constructivism which also serves as guiding principle of Philippine education today may give

light to the level of agreement of the respondents concerning independent learning style.

Piaget's theory of constructivist learning has wide range impact on learning

theories and teaching methods in education and is an underlying theme of many education

reform movements today (Panitz, 1996). This principle exercised in most schools in the

Philippines may have influenced the development of student autonomy in learning. This may
81

have provided the students a freedom for expressing their own ability and skills inside the

classroom.

Boekaerts (1998) wrote that over the last decade, concern about formal education

fostering independent learning and its outcomes has been prevalent in Europe, America and

other parts of the world. Independent learning has been one of the approaches explored by

national governments and educators as a means of improving educational outcomes.

Competitive Learning Style

In competitive learning style, students learn in order to perform better than their peers

and to receive recognition for their academic accomplishments. It provides the students a

healthy academic competition among peers. In this study, the students’ overall was 3.89

for competitive learning style denoting that the respondents moderately agreed on the

statements leaning towards this learning method. The mean and description of each statement

under this learning style are presented in Table 2e.

The respondents moderately agreed on majority of the statements under competitive

learning style. Most of the respondents emphasized the significance of competition or

opposition as an integral part of their learning system. They agreed that to be able to perform

well in the class, students must be aggressive, be ahead of everyone in terms of class

activities, monitor their and their classmates’ own performance for comparison and like to be

recognized often by the teacher in Biology class. In addition, they like to solve problems or

answer questions in Biology before anybody else, indicating that competition is an integral

part of learning. They were undecided, on the other hand on the idea of directly competing
82

with others to get good grades and attention of their Biology teacher or to step on others toes

just to be on top.

Table 2e. Responses of students toward competitive learning styles

Competitive Statement Description

To do well, it is necessary to compete with other students


3.03 Undecided
for my Biology teacher’s attention.
It is necessary to compete with other students to get a good 3.36 Undecided
grade in Biology class.
In Biology class, I must compete with other students to get 3.21 Undecided
my ideas across.
Students have to be aggressive to do well in Biology class. 3.63 Moderately Agree
I like to solve problems or answer questions in Biology 3.69 Moderately Agree
before anybody else can.
To get ahead in Biology class, it is necessary to step on the 3.00 Undecided
toes of other students.

Being one of the best students in my Biology class is very 4.10 Moderately Agree
important to me.

To stand out in my Biology class, I complete assignments 3.56 Moderately Agree


better than other students.

I like to know how well other students are doing on exams 3.93 Moderately Agree
and assignments in Biology.

I want my Biology teacher to give me more recognition for 3.69 Moderately Agree
the good work I do.

Overall 3.52 Moderately Agree

Legend:
1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree
1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree
83

This level of agreement among the respondents may be attributed to the nature of

human to compete with others most especially when one is highly motivated; has a feeling of

need to satisfy himself; and the environment he dwells in may have pushed him to compete

against others.

Mary (2010) maintained that although competition does not always belong in certain

areas of the academe, there were cases when a majority of students are highly

motivated, competition can lead to the most creative and innovative outcomes. In addition,

competition, like in the real world, is necessary to inspire people to produce more meaningful

advances. She argued that people are rewarded for the highest quality work, and if teachers

reward mediocre, above average, and below average results at the same rate, “they are only

doing their students a disservice, because the bar is lowered for everyone.” The idea is to

encourage and praise all participants, but in the end there can only be a few “winners.”

Tanner et al. (2003) contend that traditionally, educational settings have always taken

a competitive approach to learning, and many of those who have succeeded in school and

pursued careers in science excel in these environments. They further assumed that

competitive learning environments are beneficial in that they prepare students for life

experiences such as applying for jobs or competing for grants. In addition, these situations

can develop self-reliance and self-confidence in students.

Teachers have the option of structuring lessons competitively, individualistically, or

cooperatively. The decisions teachers make in structuring lessons can influence students'

interactions with others, knowledge, and attitudes (Carson, 1990; Johnson & Johnson, 1987).

In a competitively structured classroom, students engage in a win-lose struggle in an effort to


84

determine who is best (Johnson & Johnson, 1991). In competitive classrooms students

perceive that they can obtain their goals only if the other students in the class fail to attain

their own goals (Johnson et al., 1986).

Avoidant Learning Style

Only 5.4 % of the respondents have avoidant learning styles. The students’ level of

agreement or disagreement is presented in Table 2f. Majority of the responses of the students

under this learning style is undecided.

Table 2f. Responses of students toward avoidant learning styles

Avoidant Statement Description


I often daydream during Biology class. 2.66 Undecided
Moderately
Classroom activities in Biology are usually boring. 2.12
Diasgree
I very seldom am excited about material covered in
3.27 Undecided
Biology.
Moderately
I don't want to attend my Biology class. 1.84
Disagree
Paying attention during Biology class is difficult for me to
2.71 Undecided
do.
I have given up trying to learn anything from going to
3.27 Undecided
Biology class.
I study just hard enough to get by in Biology. 3.86 Moderately Agree
I typically cram for exams in Biology. 3.19 Undecided
I would prefer that my Biology teacher ignores me in
2.69 Undecided
class.
During Biology class, I tend to socialize with people
3.57 Moderately Agree
sitting next to me.
Overall 2.92 Undecided
85

Legend
1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree
1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

Students moderately agreed that they study hard enough and they tend to socialize

with people sitting next to them. They were undecided when they talk about their enthusiasm,

cramming during exams, and the ignoring attitude of their Biology teacher. Students

moderately disagreed that the classroom activities are boring; that they do not want to attend

Biology class.

Leroy and Symes ( 2001) wrote that students with avoidant learning style are seen to

lack interest in learning content and attending class. They usually do not participate in the

class activities; worst, most of them are also likely to have high absenteeism. They organize

their work poorly and take little accountability for their learning. For them, going to school is

monotony that requires a little of their attention. Velasquez (2007) and Mariano (2005) wrote

in their respective studies that students with this kind of learning style often perform poorly,

hence, their academic performance suffer the most.

According to Grasha (1996), avoidant learners are typically overwhelmed and

disinterested in the learning environment, and tend to keep ideas to themselves. Research by

Weiten (1998) suggests that academic and social pressure associated with student’s life

increase the likelihood of the learners experiencing psychological symptoms and academic
86

stress. Avoidant learners who are easily overwhelmed by the learning environment may find

more pressure and stress which can manifest in the form of internalizing or externalizing

behaviors associated with psychological distress.

Summary of Students’ Learning Styles

The summary of the means and the description of students responses in all the six

dimension of learning styles are presented in Table 2g. This indicates the respondents’ degree

or level of agreement or disagreement about students’ approach in learning Biology.

Students’ responses varied according to the different dimensions of learning style under

different reflections.

Table 2g. Means and standard deviations obtained by the respondents in the dimensions
of learning styles

Learning Style Overall SD Description


Collaborative 3.89 0.25 Moderately Agree
Participant 3.82 0.28 Moderately Agree
Dependent 3.77 0.38 Moderately Agree
Independent 3.48 0.39 Moderately Agree
Competitive 3.52 0.37 Moderately Agree
Avoidant 2.92 0.63 Undecided

Legend:
1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree
1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

Table 2g reveals that the most dominant learning style among respondents was

collaborative. The rest of the respondents had independent, competitive and avoidant learning
87

style. Almost all the learning styles were moderately agreed by the students in different

degrees as supported by the overall and standard deviation of their responses. Students

were, however, undecided with avoidant learning style.

Epistemological Beliefs of the Respondents

Epistemological beliefs refer to how individuals come to know, the theories and

beliefs they have about knowing, and the manner in which such epistemological premises are

part of an influence on cognitive processes of thinking and reasoning. Figure 3 shows the

epistemological beliefs of the respondents. Generally, respondents exhibit relatively emergent

beliefs among the various dimensions of epistemological beliefs. In this study, the lower the

score, the more the students show sophistication in the different dimensions of

epistemological beliefs.

Fig
u
r
e
88

3. Epistemological beliefs held by the respondents in Biology

It could be noted that majority of the respondents, 128 or 87.1 % were emergent. Emergent

learners refer to students whose beliefs consist of combined characteristics found in

sophisticated and naïve believers. They have the tendency to think that knowledge is

tentative, complex, acquired gradually and the ability to learn can be changed, or at times,

they may believe that knowledge is absolute, simple and can be handed down by authority.

Seventeen (17) or 11.6%, on the other hand, were still naïve or believed that knowledge is

absolute, simple, handed down by authority, acquired quickly or not at all and that the ability

to learn is fixed at birth. Only two or 1.4% of the respondents were sophisticated in their

beliefs. Sophisticated learners believe that knowledge is tentative, complex, derived by

reason, acquired gradually, and that the ability to learn can be changed. These students were

found to have belonged to urban schools.

Results of the studies of Chan and Elliot (2002) and Ryan (1984) revealed that the

younger respondents usually hold naïve beliefs about the nature of knowledge that is certain

and instantly recognizable. As they grow older, they start to adopt a more sophisticated

viewpoint about knowledge and believe knowledge is changing and tentative. Majority of the

students in this study were probably in a transitional stage of development of epistemological

beliefs while others had already passed through the naïve stage. Perry (1970) also revealed in

his study that younger learners move from viewing truth in absolute terms of right and wrong

to recognizing multiple, conflicting versions of “truth” representing legitimate alternatives as

they mature.
89

In a longitudinal study, Schommer et al. (1997) continued Schommer’s (1993b) study

about the development of secondary students’ epistemological beliefs. This group was a

random sample of the students who started the questionnaire as freshmen in 1992. In this

study, high school seniors completed the SEQ in 1995. The researchers concluded that all

four epistemological beliefs, quick learning, innate ability, simple knowledge, and certain

knowledge, became more sophisticated as students matured

The succeeding paragraphs present the students’ responses regarding the five

dimensions of epistemological beliefs. Mean, standard deviation and descriptions for each

statement under a specific facet of students’ epistemological beliefs are presented. Majority

of the statements of the Epistemological Beliefs Inventory are leaning toward naïve pole.

This means that when the overall mean of each dimension leads toward 5 (strongly agree),

the students become more naïve while when the students scored lower, they tend to become

sophisticated. However, in this study, there were also statements which were expressed in

sophisticated statements. To avoid confusion, the researcher used the reverse range of mean

and description to show the level of students’ agreement and disagreement on the statements

that indicate sophisticated beliefs. Those indicated with asterisk are reversely scored.

Quick Learning

The students’ responses regarding Quick Learning dimension are described in Table

3a with the mean, standard deviation and description of each statement.

Table 3a. Responses of the students in quick learning dimension

Quick Learning Statement SD Description


Students who learn things quickly in Biology are the 3.25 1.34 Undecided
most successful.
90

If a student tries too hard to understand a problem in


Biology, he will most likely end up being confused. 3.21 1.19 Undecided
In Biology, if you don't learn something quickly, you 2.63 1.42 Undecided
won't ever learn it.
If you haven't understood a lesson in Biology the first 2.77 1.50 Undecided
time through, going back over it won't help.
Working on a problem in Biology with no quick solution 2.78 1.31 Undecided
is a waste of time.
Overall 2.93 0.76 Undecided

Legend: 1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree


1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

A relative sophistication in their beliefs is more evident in Quick Learning with a of

2.93 described as undecided. This indicates that majority of the students tend to believe that

there are cases where learning is acquired quickly or while sometimes knowledge is acquired

gradually.

Generally, students were undecided in all statements under Quick Learning. This

means that most of the respondents would tend to believe that there are cases where students

can learn things quickly, believe that those who learn things rapidly are the most successful

in Biology. For these students, learning either occurs at initial endeavors or is not likely to

occur at all. There are times, however, when these same students think that knowledge is
91

created through learning effort and process which means that they believe in the

gradual development of their knowledge in Biology. In addition, it would

necessitate that they spend longer time striving and struggling to perform

fittingly in Biology activities.

Innate Ability

Innate Ability refers to the factor as a continuum ranging from the belief that the

ability to learn is fixed at birth to the belief that learning improves over time with experience.

The responses of the students are presented in Table 3b. In this dimension, the students had

an overall response of 3.10. Their belief manifested sophistication when they moderately

disagreed that no amount of hard work can make students smart and that smart students need

not work hard to be able to do well in Biology. Students showed less sophistication as they

believe that some students are born with special gifts and talents in Biology. It is interesting

to note that majority of the respondents tend to believe that in one way or another person may

have the innate capability that others do not have when it comes to Biology. On the other

hand, these same students cast their doubts as to whether aptitude in Biology is inborn and

whether the capacity to learn Biology is dependent on innate ability.

Table 3b. Responses of the students in innate ability dimension

Innate Ability Statement SD Description


Moderately
Some students in Biology will never be smart no 2.31 1.18
Disagree
matter how hard they work.
2.33 1.25 Moderately
92

Really smart students don't have to work as hard


Disagree
to do well in Biology.

Students can't do too much about how smart they 3.12 1.13 Undecided
are in Biology.

How well you do in Biology depends on how 3.18 1.18 Undecided


smart you are.

Some students in Biology class just have a knack 3.07 1.11 Undecided
for learning and others don't.

Smart students in Biology are born that way. 2.61 1.19 Undecided

Some students are born with special gifts and Moderately


3.49 1.25
talents in Biology Agree
Overall 3.10 0.66 Undecided

Legend:
1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree
1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

Simple Knowledge

Table 3c presents the responses of the students regarding Simple Knowledge.

Students had mixed agreements in their belief in Simple Knowledge with the overall of

3.13 and standard deviation of 0.53. In this particular dimension, one of the statements was

expressed towards sophistication. To avoid confusion, it was marked with an asterisk to

indicate that it was reversely scored. Reverse scoring was utilized in some
93

Table 3c. Responses of the students in simple knowledge dimension

Simple Knowledge Statement SD Description

It bothers me when Biology teachers don't tell Moderately


students the answers to complicated Biology 3.56 1.19
Agree
problems.
Too many theories in biology just complicate things. 3.22 1.24 Undecided
The best ideas in biology are often the simplest ones. Moderately
3.64 1.22
Agree
Biology teachers should focus on facts instead of Moderately
3.52 1.17
theories. Agree
Some Biology concepts are simpler than most 3.27 0.99 Undecided
Biology teachers would have you believe.
Biology is easy to understand because it contains so 3.37 1.21 Undecided
many facts.
In Biology, the more you know about a topic, the Moderately
1.86 0.99
more there is to know.* Agree
Overall 3.13 0.53 Undecided

* reverse scored
Legend:

Regular scoring *Reverse Scoring


Strongly Disagree 1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Agree
Moderately Disagree 1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Agree
Undecided 2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
Moderately Agree 3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Disagree
Strongly Agree 4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Disagree

statements of selected dimensions such as this to show the students’ agreement and

disagreement regarding the statement. In this study, as the statement is reversely scored, it

demonstrates sophistication in the viewpoint of the respondent.

They moderately agreed that, inconvenience arises when teachers do not teach what it

is ought to be taught, teachers should focus on facts and that the best ideas in Biology are

often the simplest ones. This may be attributed the respondents’ strong belief in authority as
94

source of knowledge that is why many depend on them, thereby, influencing students’

conception of one’s own ability.

They felt undecided as to whether many theories just complicate things and that

Biology is filled with simpler concepts and facts. This means that they sometimes tend to

believe that there are simple concepts or ideas in Biology that are easy to understand and

sometimes they regard this knowledge in Biology as rather complex than simple. Ryan

(1984) disclosed that majority of high school respondents in his study exhibit beliefs in

simple knowledge and quick learning. These students later on developed

more matured or sophisticated idea about the structure and origin of

knowledge when they are exposed to classroom activities that promote

more sensible perception regarding knowledge.

Certainty of Knowledge

Certainty of knowledge refers to the dimension of the students’ epistemological

beliefs which maintain that knowledge is absolute to knowledge is constantly changing.

Consequently, this dimension also holds the largest number of statements that are oriented

toward sophisticated beliefs. As earlier stated, they were marked in such a way showing their

reverse scoring. Statements which were reversely scored illustrate sophistication in the

responses of the students.

The responses of the respondents regarding certainty of knowledge are presented in

Table 3d with an overall of 3.29 which is undecided. This means that majority of the
95

students show greater conviction that knowledge in Biology may be tentative or ever-

changing at one time or may be certain sometimes.

Table 3d. Responses of the students in certainty of knowledge dimension


Certainty of Knowledge Statement SD Description
Truth in Biology means different things to different
2.53 1.14 Moderately Agree
people. *
Absolute moral truth does not exist in Biology.* 3.20 1.14 Undecided
I like biology teachers who present several competing 2.36 1.29 Moderately Agree
theories and let their students decide which is best.*
If two students are arguing about something in a 3.48 1.17 Moderately Agree
Biology class, at least one of them must be wrong.
The moral rules in Biology I live by apply to everyone 3.38 1.01 Undecided
in the class.
What is true today in Biology will be true tomorrow. 3.37 1.17 Undecided
You can study Biology concepts for years and still not Moderately
3.41 1.2
really understand them.* Disagree
Sometimes there are no right answers to Biology's big 2.81 1.17 Undecided
problems. *
Overall 3.29 0.57 Undecided
* reverse scored
Legend:

Regular scoring *Reverse Scoring


Strongly Disagree 1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Agree
Moderately Disagree 1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Agree
Undecided 2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
Moderately Agree 3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Disagree
Strongly Agree 4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Disagree

Most of the students moderately agreed on statements pertaining to truth in Biology

that is different from one person to another and that when two people have opposing ideas in

Biology, at least one of them is wrong denoting of the certainty of knowledge. They were,

however, undecided whether or not to believe in the existence and applicability of moral
96

absolute truth in Biology to others and right answers in Biology’s big problems. This implies

that the more students believed that knowledge in Biology is certain, the more likely they

were to treat inconclusive information as certain or unchangeable knowledge.

Solomon et al. (1994) found in their studies students aged seven to ten years old were

more likely to have less sophisticated beliefs in the stability of knowledge, that is, they

believe that knowledge is certain and unwavering. In a subsequent large-scale study,

Solomon and her colleagues used the same questionnaire with a much larger age-range of

students (13- to 18-years-old), the researchers found that older students’ views showed a

significant progression toward a sophisticated understanding of science particularly in their

beliefs in certainty and simplicity of knowledge.

Omniscient Authority

One of the dimensions of the epistemological beliefs recognizes the students’ beliefs

in the source of knowledge. Omniscient authority as referred to by Schommer (1990)

maintains that knowledge is handed down by experts in the field to knowledge is reasoned

out through objective and subjective means. In this particular dimension, one specific

statement leaned toward sophistication. It was interesting to note students showed maturity

when they moderately agreed that at times teachers’ authority in Biology may be questioned

and they moderately disagreed when asked if those who questioned the teachers were trouble

makers.

However, for most, students showed least sophisticated epistemology in Omniscient

Authority with a = 3.32 (Table 3e). This implies that a large portion of the students believe

in the authority of teacher as the main source of knowledge in Biology.


97

The manifestation of their least sophistication in this dimension was supported by the

statement of the students strongly agreeing that teachers should teach all there is to know in

Biology. However, they all moderately agreed about the influence of the teacher in the

classroom.

Table 3e. Responses of the students in omniscient authority dimension

Omniscient Authority Statement SD Description


Students should always obey the law inside Biology
3.91 1.22 Moderately Agree
classroom.
Teachers should teach their students all there is to 4.20 1.10 Strongly Agree
know about Biology.

In a Biology class, students should be allowed to 2.07 1.19 Moderately Agree


question their teachers' authority.*

When a Biology teacher tells me what to do, I 4.00 1.03 Moderately Agree
usually do it.
Students who question Biology teachers are trouble 2.39 1.26 Moderately Agree
makers.
Overall Mean 3.32 0.56 Undecided

* reverse scored

Legend

Regular scoring *Reverse Scoring


Strongly Disagree 1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Agree
Moderately Disagree 1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Agree
Undecided 2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
Moderately Agree 3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Disagree
Strongly Agree 4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Disagree
98

This strong agreement of the students towards the authority of the teacher may be

addressed borrowing the conceptual lenses from social psychology where culture, that of

Asian, in particular, plays an important role in the learning of students.

It can be fairly sustained that culture in Asian societies, where modernity seems to go

along with traditional values, principles such as those pinpointed by Moemeka (1996) may

still influence norms, values and behavior in people’s relationships, in general, and in

communication, in particular. If so, and since schools (classrooms) are, by excellence,

settings of communication (primarily between the teacher and the students), a culturally

based explanation could be found as to why Omniscient Authority is a prevalent element in

students’ epistemological beliefs among the respondents.

Sitoe (2004) further argued that, in his study where education is highly treasured for

being a ‘social good’, the culture of respect towards a teacher is to be regarded as associated

to a perception of the utility of the teacher (the one conveying that ‘social good’) to the

community.

Summary of Students’ Epistemological Beliefs

To decide on the nature of epistemological beliefs that respondents hold, means and

standard deviations were calculated and tabulated as shown in Table 3f.

Table 3f. Means and standard deviations obtained by the respondents in the five
dimensions of the Epistemological Beliefs

Dimension Overall SD Description


Simple Knowledge 3.13 0.53 Undecided
Certainty of Knowledge 3.29 0.57 Undecided
Innate Ability 3.10 0.66 Undecided
Omniscient Authority 3.32 0.56 Undecided
99

Quick Learning 2.93 0.76 Undecided

1.00 - 1.79 Strongly Disagree Legend


1.80 - 2.59 Moderately Disagree
2.60 - 3.39 Undecided
3.40 - 4.19 Moderately Agree
4.20 - 5.00 Strongly Agree

Data in Table 3f indicate that respondents hold a variety of beliefs about the nature of

knowledge in Biology and the process of handling this knowledge. Students’ responses

varied according to the different dimensions of epistemology under consideration. Based on

the findings, students showed sophistication in Quick Learning, this means that they mostly

believed that knowledge is acquired gradually. However, they showed least sophistication in

the Omniscient Authority. This means that the respondents tended to believe that teachers are

the definitive source of information in Biology.

Profile of Students’ Academic Performance in Biology

The grade point average (GPA) of the respondents presented in Figure 4 refers to the

average grade in Biology of the respondents during the school year 2009-2010. The results

revealed that majority of the respondents had an average performance in Biology with the

mean rating of 83.76 and a standard deviation of 3.87 (Appendix E).


100

Figure 4. Distribution of respondents’ grade point average

Majority of respondents about 108 or 73.4% had a grade of 80-87 which means they

have average performance. About 25 or 17% had a high academic performance. Their grades

were at least 88. Only 14 or 9.6% had a low academic performance or a grade just below 80.

Similar result was found by Velasquez (2007) in her study that majority of the high

school respondents in Muñoz National High School had average academic performance in

Mathematics, Science and English.

Relationship Between Learning Style


and Epistemological Beliefs of the Respondents

The relationship between the respondents’ epistemological beliefs and learning styles
101

was also investigated in this study. Table 4 below shows the correlation between the learning

styles of the respondents and their epistemological beliefs.

Table 4. Relationship between learning styles and epistemological beliefs


Learning Epistemological Beliefs
Simple Certainty of Innate Omniscient Quick
Styles p-value p-value p-value p-value p-value
Knowledge Knowledge Ability Authority Learning
Independent 0.213** 0.009 -0.011 0.894 0.261** 0.001 0.117 0.160 0.212* 0.010
Avoidant -0.064 0.441 -0.203* 0.014 0.205* 0.013 -0.190 0.021 0.389** 0.000
Collaborative 0.101 0.225 0.366** 0.000 0.181* 0.028 0.099 0.235 0.075 0.364
Dependent 0.295** 0.000 0.262** 0.001 0.165* 0.046 0.278** 0.001 0.145 0.080
Competitive 0.163* 0.049 0.082 0.323 0.403** 0.000 0.141 0.090 0.362** 0.000
Participant 0.247** 0.003 0.315** 0.000 0 .095 0.254 0.294** 0.000 0.029 0.725
** Highly significant at 0.01 level (2-tailed)
* Significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)

Results revealed that independent learners had a tendency to believe in the complexity

of knowledge; that learning can change anytime as well as in the gradual acquisition of

knowledge in Biology. For them, to grasp concepts or ideas in Biology, facts must be

presented in continuous manner to be able to absorb quickly. They also have the propensity

to believe in the knowledge as a result of personal experience and to those facts they acquired

gradually. This relationship may be attributed to the idea that independent learners are fond

of discovering their own knowledge so they always consider a continuous processing of

knowledge into a meaningful outcome when it comes to learning Biology.

Although most of avoidant learners are inattentive and uninterested in the class, those

students, on the other hand, are more likely to consider that knowledge is a lifelong process

and ability is not inborn. Respondents with this kind of learning style have the tendency to

believe that knowledge is not inherent and that learning is gradually acquired when it comes

to learning Biology. While most of the time avoidant learners are associated with negative
102

connotations when it come to learning, they may exhibit positive characters at times

depending on activities and other classroom factors that may encourage them to be

constructive (Sarasin, 1998). The negative correlation existing between their learning style

and the certainty of knowledge connotes that these learners may have the predisposition of

believing that knowledge is definite. This may be attributed to their own behavior being

negligent and uninterested in the class.

The significant correlation between the collaborative learning style and certainty of

knowledge and innate ability may mean that learners who scored high on this kind of

learning style believe that knowledge is constantly evolving and that whatever knowledge

they have in Biology is a result of continuous experience. This belief may be explained by

the fundamental attitude exhibited by the collaborative learners. Since they always consider

associating themselves with others, they have the tendency to construct their own knowledge

through their experience from others, hence, whatever knowledge they have is still evolving.

Dependent learning style is highly correlated to the beliefs such as simple knowledge,

certainty of knowledge and omniscient authority. This may indicate that dependent learners

learn Biology if they perceive knowledge in its complex and indistinctive form. It is also

interesting to note that dependent learners set aside their regard for the authority or teacher as

the primary source of knowledge in Biology. Dependent learning style was also significantly

related with their belief in inner ability. This may mean that dependent learners learn better

Biology concepts as they realize that people learn through experience.


103

Competitive learning style had highly significant correlation with the beliefs of innate

ability and quick learning. This may denote that as a student becomes competitive in the class

the more he becomes aware that knowledge may be constructed from one’s own experience

and it is acquired through gradual process. Competitive learners love to vie with others, thus,

this teaches them to explore outside and to create or interpret knowledge according to their

perspective. Competitive learning style was also significantly correlated with the simplicity

of knowledge. This denotes that competitive learners believe that knowledge is highly

integrated and interwoven. This view may arise from their belief in the gradual acquisition of

knowledge. For them to efficiently learn concepts or ideas in Biology, knowledge should be

encountered, progressively acquired and carefully integrated into a meaningful learning

experience.

Lastly, participant learning style has highly significant correlation with the simplicity

and certainty of knowledge. Participant learners may have the tendency to believe that

knowledge is organized into a highly incorporated and intertwined data resulting from an

evolving source of knowledge. It can be well remembered that participant learners are keen

to the idea of learning from their association with others. If so, participant learners may be

utilizing this system in organizing data they gather from their external environment apart

from what they learn from their teachers and from books. Participant learners are also closely

associated with the omniscient authority. It was stated previously that participant learners

take pride in connecting not just only with their classmates but with their teachers as well.

This sophistication in belief about the authority as the source of knowledge may have

influenced them to use such approach in functioning well in the Biology class.
104

Many studies have investigated the influence of epistemological beliefs on learning

strategies (Hofer, 1999) in traditional contexts. Schommer and Hutter (2002) found links

between epistemological beliefs and students' comprehension, meta-comprehension, study

strategies, and interpretation of text. The more students believe in complex knowledge and

gradual learning, the more likely they are to successfully comprehend, monitor their

comprehension and strategize their learning. Kardash and Scholes, (1996) suggested that

students who have less sophisticated beliefs (in the case of avoidant students) tend to use

surface-level strategies to collect isolated facts and try to rehearse and memorize concepts

and key terms to prepare for examinations, while students with sophisticated epistemological

beliefs tend to apply deep-level strategies such as elaboration and organization (as in the case

of participative and collaborative learners).

Relationship Between Learning Styles


and Academic Performance

Learning styles are seen to be the most distinguished way a student learns or

processes information. In many studies, the potentiality of learning styles as an indicator of

how a student learns and how he likes to learn have been frequently established in the past.

Table 5 shows the relationship between the learning styles and academic performance

in Biology of the respondents. A highly significant relationship (r=0.266, p<0.01) is

observed between participant learning style and academic performance. This means that as

the student becomes more participative and given the chance to involve himself actively with

the rest of the students and with the activities in the classroom, the more likely that his grade
105

in Biology improves. This is also true with students who are collaborative.

Table 5. Relationship between learning styles and academic performance

Learning Styles Grade Point Average p-value


Independent 0.350 0.674
Avoidant -0.288 ** 0.000
Collaborative 0.217 ** 0.008
Dependent 0.094 0.257
Competitive 0.090 0.277
Participant 0.266 ** 0.001
** Highly significant at 0.01 level (2-tailed)

A highly significant relationship (r = 0.217, p<0.01) is also noted between

collaborative learning style and academic performance of students. The more the teachers

give the learners the chance to collaborate with group activities, discussions and dynamics

within the classroom, the higher the tendency that students obtain higher grades.

This result may be attributed to the current educational reform in the Philippines

particularly the shifting of a teacher-centered to student-centered goal may be one of the

reasons why there is a high rate of students who favor collaborative and participant learning

styles. Collaborative and participative learning describe the many educational approaches

involving joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together. Most learning

activities from collaborative and participative approach focus on the student's exploration and

application of the course material and not the teacher's presentation of it. Gerlach (1994)

stated that the student-oriented goal of education is anchored on two learning theories such as

cooperative and constructivist learning theories. Cooperative learning theory incorporates the

idea that the best learning occurs when students are actively engaged in the learning process

and working in collaboration with other students to accomplish a shared goal. While
106

constructivism focuses on personal experience as the foundation for learning new material,

cooperative learning utilizes not only the student’s own experience to solidify knowledge, but

also uses the experiences of others (Panitz, 1996). When cooperative learning is incorporated

into the classroom, research suggests students learn with greater depth and complexity while

enjoying the experience even more. Students who are asked to work together also tend to be

less intimidated by the task and will work at the task with greater intensity for longer time.

Consequently, a highly significant but negative correlation (r= -0.288, p<0.01) is

observed between the avoidant learning style and academic performance. This may mean that

when a student becomes neglectful, uninterested or passive in the classroom especially

toward activities, he tends to obtain lower grade in Biology. The result implies that

meaningful and thought provoking activities as well as encouragement from teachers, peers

and parents as well may help improve avoidant students’ attitude towards learning.

Results of the study are congruent with the findings of Carbonel (2008) and Mariano

(2005). Mariano (2005) found out in her study among students of General Biology in CLSU

that their CLSU College Admission Test (CAT) scores in Science were significantly

correlated with collaborative and participant learning styles. She found out that the students

who exhibit these learning styles are found to have higher CAT scores. Similarly, those who

exhibit avoidant and competitive learning styles were the ones who have low scores in

science CAT. Likewise, Carbonel (2008) also found out in her study that there was a highly

significant correlation noted between collaborative learning style and the score in science of

CLSU CAT among CFY students. This means that these students who showed collaborative

learning style significantly earned higher score in CAT. Results of her study further revealed
107

that respondents who exhibited avoidant learning styles tended to get lower grade in the

science part of the CLSU-CAT.

Relationship Between Epistemological Beliefs


and Academic Performance

The relationship between the respondents’ epistemological beliefs and academic

performance in Biology was presented in Table 6. This shows a significant relationship

existing between the students’ academic performance and the certainty of knowledge.

Table 6. Relationship between epistemological beliefs and academic performance

Epistemological Beliefs Grade Point Average p-value


Simple Knowledge -0.008 0.921
Certainty of Knowledge 0.308** 0.000
Innate Ability 0.040 0.629
Omniscient Authority 0.095 0.250
Quick Learning -0.017 0.835
** Highly significant at 0.01 level (2-tailed)

This association of students’ performance in Biology and their belief in certainty of

knowledge denotes that students who scored perform better in Biology are those who believe

that knowledge is a product of a person’s effort to construct his own learning through direct

experience. This may also mean that when students see knowledge in Biology as tentative or

ever-changing, they tend to improve their performance in Biology.

In a longitudinal study, Trautwein and Ludtke (2007) examined the relationship

between epistemological beliefs, specifically the certainty of knowledge and school

achievement. Results of the study showed that certainty beliefs was found correlated
108

significantly and negatively with final school grades (r = -.23, p < .05) of the German

students. Furthermore, the certainty beliefs were specified mediating the influence of family

background on final school grades.

Sitoe (2004) in his study about the epistemological beliefs of Mozambican high

school students found that epistemological beliefs do not appear directly related with

academic achievement. Their influence is rather indirect and it is exerted through perceptions

of education. Distinctively, believing that learning is simple and that knowledge is delivered

by authority seems to influence the likelihood of the perception that education is reduced to

getting schooled, for personal and material benefits. In turn, this perception of education,

which privileges the ultimate ends of education rather than the learning process, seems to

have positive impact on academic achievement.

Learning Styles and Epistemological Belief


as Predictors of Academic Performance

Multiple regression analysis was conducted to test the predictors of academic

performance of students in Biology. In this study, the students’ learning styles and

epistemological beliefs were tested for their predictive influence on the respondents’

academic performance in Biology. Results revealed that among the dimensions of

learning styles, it was only the avoidant learning style that predicted the

academic performance in Biology of students (F= 3.1243, p<.01 Adjusted R²= .

137). The negative value of the regression indicates that as students favor

avoidant learning style, the more they obtain lower grades in Biology. This
109

implies that students who were underachievers in the class are

consequently those who portray passive and uninterested attitude in the

class. Such students if not always given attention to be encouraged will

remain indifferent and inactive in most classroom activities, thereby,

always continue to be the underachievers in the class. Avoidant learners

have always been the subject of interest among researches particularly on

how to improve their behavior towards learning. Table 7 shows the result

of the multiple regression analysis between the learning styles and

epistemological beliefs of the students.

Table 7. Multiple regression analysis for predictors of academic


performance

Variables β Std.Err. - of Beta t Sig.


Independent 0.008870 0.094154 0.0942 0.925084
Avoidant 0.277572 0.093988 -2.9533** 0.003710
Collaborative 0.110177 0.111742 0.9860 0.325901
Dependent -0.172346 0.119614 -1.4409 0.151941
Competitive 0.135127 0.104921 1.2879 0.199989
Participant 0.167571 0.115550 1.4502 0.149321
Simple Knowledge 0.013133 0.084482 0.1554 0.876700
Certainty of Knowledge 0.203161 0.090162 2.2533* 0.025854
Innate Ability -0.021917 0.095192 -0.2302 0.818257
Omniscient Authority -0.025101 0.086049 -0.2917 0.770961
Quick Learning 0.029646 0.094824 0.3126 0.755037
** Highly significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
*Significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)

Cano and Rodriguez (2008) asserted in their study that deep strategy for learning used

by the students in coping with their everyday academic works would predict the academic

performance of the students. In their study about the students’ approach to learning as

predictor of academic achievement among respondents, Diseth and Martinsen (2003) argue
110

that high achievement can be predicted by a deep approach, either alone or in combination

with a strategic approach to learning. In contrast, low academic achievement can be predicted

by a surface approach to learning. Indeed, the surface approach to learning has consistently

been found to negatively correlate with academic success. Approaches to learning are

conceived as the individual differences in intentions a student has when faced with a learning

task (Diseth and Martinsen, 2003). They reflect the strategies an individual uses to achieve a

particular goal.

When the epistemological beliefs were tested for their predictive ability, the students’

belief in the certainty of knowledge was found to predict the academic performance of the

students. This means that the more the students believed that knowledge is tentative or ever-

changing as a result of knowledge development though personal experience, the more they

improve their performance in Biology. Similarly when the students believe that knowledge is

definite, there is a tendency for students to obtain lower grade in Biology. Kardash and

Scholes (1996) wrote that the stronger the students’ beliefs in certainty, the more likely

students are to endorse opinions that do not reflect the inconclusive nature of the information

provided. Because strong certainty beliefs prevent students from engaging in in-depth

processing of information, they will probably have significant long-term costs. Hence,

helping students to acquire a sophisticated beliefs system about human knowledge is an

important educational goal in itself and a means of enhancing academic achievement. It is

more likely that this objective will be achieved if the materials used in the classroom

represent the tentative nature of human knowledge

Abdel-Majeed and Ismail (2005) found out in their study that three

dimensions of epistemological beliefs, specifically certainty of knowledge,


111

structure and integration of knowledge significantly predicted the

academic performance of students in Saudi Arabia. They pointed out that

students who have sophisticated beliefs in the certainty, structure and

integration of knowledge would have the tendency to obtain higher

grades.

Moderating Effect of Socio-demographic Characteristics


to the Relationship of Learning Styles
and Academic Performance

In order to find the moderating effect of the socio-demographic characteristics such as

age, gender, school location, ICT accessibility, family income, parents’ educational

attainment and parents’ occupation on the relationship of academic performance and learning

styles, hierarchical regression was employed. Hierarchical regression is a method used in

order to determine which among the third variables would interact with the relationship of

independent and dependent variables. All the resulting mean of the dimensions of learning

styles were transformed into Z scores. The product of Z scores of independent variable and

moderating variables were obtained to create new variables (e.g. z avoidant X z family

income).

In this study, since only the avoidant learning style was the one to have been found to

predict the academic performance, the researcher focused on this particular learning strategy.

With regards to socio-demographic characteristics, only the family income was found to be a

moderating variable that interacts with the avoidant learning style as a result of regression. In
112

the hierarchical regression, the Z scores of the avoidant learning styles together with the

moderating variable were entered as independent variables in the first step. The product of Z

avoidant and family income, for example, was entered in the second step with the

performance in Biology as the dependent variable to find out whether moderating variables

moderate the relationship between learning style and academic performance. A similar

procedure was followed for the rest of the moderating variables. The beta coefficient and its

significant values were also identified. In investigating causal relationship such as this, direct

and indirect effects may emerge as result of the test. The direct effect is one in which the

cause affects the outcome unequivocally rather than other variables. In order for the

independent variable to cause a significant influence on the dependent variable, the effect of

the moderating variable in the independent variable is necessary. Indirect effect on the other

hand is described to which the cause affects the outcome implicitly or indirectly. In short,

with or without the moderating variable, the independent variable will still continue to

influence the dependent variable.

Results of the hierarchical regression analysis revealed that the family income did not

moderate the relationship between the avoidant learning style and the academic performance

of the students. This means that students who have the tendency to adopt avoidant learning

style will continue to have lower grades in Biology whether or not their family has low or

high income. This result may be attributed to the predictive ability of avoidant learning style

to academic performance of the respondents but not their family economic status specifically

their monthly income. With this in consideration, as economic status of students do not

interfere with their learning process, one may say that teachers should focus more on the
113

improvement of the students’ learning style in order to enhance their academic performance.

Since economic status is not an issue that matters on the academic performance of the

students, it is fair enough to quote an article by Haycock (2001) which addresses issues

related to the achievement gap through research conducted by The Education Trust in the late

1990’s. They questioned both children and adults on what they suspect are causes of this

achievement gap. One comment among those made by the children was, “ What hurts us

more is that you teach us less.’ “ Haycock (2001) concludes: “…we take the students who

have less to begin with and then systematically give them less in school.” What schools do

obviously matters. What also matters is effective teaching.

To further explain the lack of effect of family income on the learning style and

academic performance relationship, Figure 5 shows the interaction of the moderating variable

between the independent and the dependent variables.

Figure 5. Interaction plot of family income on the relationship of avoidant learning style
and academic performance of the students

In this particular result, it can be seen that the figure depicts a null case. The null case
114

is a situation where the moderating variable has no effect on the relationship of the

independent (IV) and the dependent variables (DV). This figure assumes that even if the

students belong to families with low or high income, it could be expected that students would

still have low performance in Biology as a result of their adoption of avoidant learning style.

Only one line for both levels in the graphs is visible because one line falls right on top of the

other. Masking off the other line in an interaction plot like this is a clear indication of no

effect to IV-DV relationship.

Moderating Effect of Socio-demographic Characteristics


to the relationship of Epistemological Beliefs
and Academic Performance

Hierarchical regression analysis was also utilized to determine which among the

dimensions of epistemological beliefs would show significant interactions with the socio-

demographic characteristics acting as moderating variables.

After testing potential moderating variables such as age, gender, school location, ICT

accessibility, family income, parents’ educational attainment and parents’ occupation,

hierarchical regression analysis showed that three of moderating variables produced

significant interaction with the epistemological beliefs and academic performance. The

discussion of the moderating effects being referred to in this study was further divided into

direct effects and indirect effect. As discussed earlier, the direct effect is one in which the

cause affects the outcome unequivocally rather than the other variable. In order for the

independent variable to cause a significant influence on the dependent variable, the effect of
115

the moderating variable in the independent variable is necessary. Indirect effect on the other

hand is described to which the cause affects the outcome implicitly or indirectly. In short, the

independent variable will just influence the dependent variable if the mediator variable is

present.

Direct Effects

Earlier, it was established that the belief in the certainty of knowledge was identified

as a predictor of students’ academic performance in Biology. When hierarchical regression

analysis was done in order to test which among the socio-demographic characteristics would

significantly moderate the relationship of certainty of knowledge and academic performance

in Biology, the test revealed that school location significantly moderated their relationship

directly. This implies that students with improved or sophisticated belief in the certainty of

knowledge as a result of moderation brought about by the school location would have the

tendency to get high grade in Biology. This means that the effect of their belief in the

certainty of knowledge is induced by the type of school they attend. The moderating effect of

school location on the relationship of certainty of knowledge and academic performance is

shown in Table 8.

Table 8. Moderating effect of school location to the relationship of certainty of


knowledge and academic performance
Change Statistics
β t Sig R2 Change F Change Sig F. Change
Step 1
School location -0.054 -0.682 0.496
Certainty of knowledge 0.308 3.888** 0.000
School Location,
0.097 7.778** 0.001
Certainty of Knowledge
Step 2
School location x Certainty of
-0.295 -2.864** 0.005 0.049 8.201** 0.005
Knowledge
116

** Highly significant at the 0.01 level

The moderation of school location is most especially true for students who study in

rural areas where their school location is seen to interact directly with their belief in certainty

of knowledge. As these rural students believe that knowledge is not certain and that their

knowledge is built from their own experience, the higher the tendency for these students to

improve their academic standing. However, this interaction is not true for those who study in

urban areas. The school location does not seem to interact with students’ belief in certainty of

knowledge; therefore, their academic performance in Biology is not a result of the

combinatory effect of school location and certainty of knowledge. With this in consideration,

it seemed reasonable to assume that rural schools teachers’ sensitiveness to improve their

student’s epistemological beliefs especially their beliefs in the certainty of knowledge is

practically appropriate in order to enhance their students’ academic performance in Biology.

In order to further understand the interaction of the school location on the certainty of

belief-academic performance relationship, the interaction plot in Figure 6 explains the

moderating effect of the school location. Students from rural schools who generally have

sophisticated belief in the certainty of knowledge have the greater capacity to improve their

performance in Biology than those who have naïve beliefs. It can also be seen that in the case

of urban students, their academic performance is only affected by their belief in the certainty

of knowledge.
117

Figure 6. Interaction plot of school location on the relationship of certainty of


knowledge and academic performance of the students

Kardash and Scholes (1996) reported that beliefs about the certainty of knowledge

predicted the types of conclusions drawn by high school students after reading mixed

evidence on a controversial topic (causes of AIDS). The stronger the students’ beliefs in the

certainty of knowledge, the more likely they were to draw conclusions that failed to take into

account the inconclusive nature of information provided. The certainty dimension was also

significantly related to achievement in a study with 326 first year college students (Hofer,

2000). In this study, certainty scores on both a domain-general and a domain-specific

measure were the strongest predictors of academic achievement. The higher their certainty

scores, the lower the students’ academic standing.

Sitoe (2004) found that school location was a significant predictor that affects the

relationship between the students’ epistemological beliefs and the location where the students

are studying. He found out that students in rural schools would have tendencies to improve
118

academic performance if their belief in certainty of knowledge becomes more sophisticated.

Indirect effect

Earlier it was emphasized that with regard to indirect effects, only in the presence of

the moderating variable that the independent variable will influence the dependent variable.

In further testing of several moderating variables, accessibility to ICT and fathers’

educational attainment of the students were revealed to interact indirectly with the two

dimensions of epistemological beliefs, the omniscient authority and innate ability,

respectively. The indirect of effects of ICT accessibility on the relationship of academic

performance and omniscient authority and father’s educational attainment on the relationship

of innate ability and academic performance were discussed separately.

ICT Accessibility

Hierarchical regression analysis shows that students who have sophisticated belief in

the omniscient authority would significantly affect their academic performance if they have

access to information and communication technology. This means that students would get

higher grade in Biology if their belief in omniscient authority is significantly moderated by

their access to information and communication technology. But since this is seen as an

indirect effect, it should be noted that without the access to information and communication

technology, their belief in omniscient authority will not influence their academic

performance. Table 9 shows the moderating effect of ICT on omniscient authority – academic

performance relationship.
119

Table 9. Moderating effect of ICT to the relationship of omniscient authority and


academic performance
Change Statistics
β t Sig R2 Change F Change Sig F. Change
Step 1
ICT accessibility 0.024 0.288 0.774
Omniscient authority 0.110 1.328 0.186
ICT accessibility, 0.012 0.911 0.404
Omniscient Authority
Step 2
ICT accessibility x 0.340 3.738** 0.000 0.088 13.974** 0.000
Omniscient authority
** Highly significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

Figure 7 shows the interaction plot of the moderating variable on the independent and

the dependent variables. It can be seen that students who have sophisticated beliefs in

Figure 7. Interaction plot of ICT to the relationship of omniscient authority and


academic performance
omniscient authority are more likely to have improved performance in Biology if they have

access to basic ICT such as internet, e-libraries, etc. On the other hand, those who believe

that teachers and books are the ultimate source of information are likely to have lower grade

only when ICT is considered. Hence, since majority of the students have access to internet, it
120

would also be better that classroom activities be geared towards sophistication in their

epistemology so that their performance in Biology would also be enhanced.

Barnard (2008) emphasized the need to improve the students’ epistemological beliefs

through online learning to be able to produce significant improvement in the students’

academic achievement. She suggested that classroom environment should emphasize more

technologically driven teaching strategies. This result indicates that the students’ skill in

manipulating ICT may be viewed as positively mediating the relationship between

epistemological beliefs and their academic performance.

Father’s Educational Attainment

Hierarchical regression analysis showed that students who have improved beliefs in

the innate ability would significantly affect their academic performance if the fathers of the

students had higher educational attainment. This means that students who believe that

knowledge is not inborn would have the higher likelihood of getting high grades in Biology

especially if their fathers have high educational attainment. This suggests that the parental

education such as that of the father may help in sophistication of epistemological beliefs

which could in turn affect positively the academic performance of the students in Biology.

Innate ability loses its influence on the students’ performance in Biology when the fathers’

education is not considered. Table 10 shows the moderating effect of father’s educational

attainment on relationship of innate ability and academic performance of the students.

Table 10. Moderating effect of fathers’ educational attainment on the relationship of


innate ability and academic performance
Change Statistics
121

β t Sig R2 Change F Change Sig F. Change


Step 1
Fathers’ educational attainment -0.148 -1.792 0.075
Innate Ability -0.218 -1.915 0.057
Fathers’ educational attainment, 0.023 1.687 0.189
Innate Ability
Step 2
Fathers’ educational attainment 0.307 2.727** 0.007 0.048 7.437** 0.007
x Innate Ability
** highly significant at p < .01

Figure 8 shows the interaction of the moderating variable between the relationship of

the independent and the dependent variables. Students who have fathers who are college

graduates and whose beliefs in innate ability are sophisticated are likely to have improved

performance in Biology. On the other, those students who believe that knowledge

Figure 8. Interaction of father’s educational attainment to the relationship of innate


ability and academic performance

is inborn and whose fathers are not college graduates are more likely to have lower

performance in Biology. This implies that in classroom where there are majority of students

who have fathers who are non-college graduates, structuring classroom activities to develop

mature belief in the innate ability may be done to facilitate enhancement of students’

performance in Biology.
122

On the basis of such outcome, it sounds fair to conclude that literacy and adult

education among parents in countries like the Philippines may collaterally contribute to

‘epistemological growth’ (or ‘epistemological sophistication’) of their respective children,

namely, by inculcating in them the perception that ability is not innate and that knowledge is

a result of the person’s own interaction to different sources of knowledge. This particular

result was congruent with Sitoe’s findings (2004) which also found on his study regarding the

intervention of family level of education on the beliefs of students on the authoritative

sources of knowledge, innate ability and on the simplicity of the learning process, that, it is

less likely to be found among those students whose parents have reached higher levels of

education.

Revised Diagram of Learning Style, Epistemological Beliefs and Academic Performance

The predictive influence of learning style and epistemological beliefs through

regression analysis have resulted to the revision of hypothesized diagram depicting the

hypothesized relationships among independent, dependent and moderator variables. Figure 9

shows the revised path diagram of students’ learning style and epistemological beliefs towards

students’ academic performance in Biology.


Independent variables
EPISTEMOLOGICAL
LEARNING
BELIEFS
STYLES Omniscient
Certainty of Knowledge
Avoidant Authority

ICT
Accessibility
School
Location Innate
Ability

Father’s
Academic Educational
Performance in Biology Attainment
Dependent variables
123

Figure 9. Revised path diagram of students’ learning style and epistemological beliefs
toward their academic performance in Biology

Legend for Figure 9


predictor
Indirect effect
Moderating effect

The revision of hypothesized diagram to its new path diagram narrowed down the

predictors of academic performance of students in Biology into avoidant learning style and

certainty of knowledge. On the other hand, hierarchical regression analysis revealed school

location directly influence the relationship of certainty of knowledge and students’ academic

performance in Biology, ICT accessibility and father’s educational attainment indirectly

influence the relationships between omniscient authority and students’ academic performance

in Biology and innate ability and students’ academic performance in Biology, respectively.

Socio-Demographic Characteristics
of the Respondents

The socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents which include age, gender,

school, location, ICT accessibility, parents' educational background and parents' occupation

are presented with their respective data in graphical form.

Age

Figure 10 shows the age distribution of the respondents. The age of the respondents

Figure 10. Age distribution of the respondents


124

ranged from 13 – 18 years old with the mean 14.12 and standard deviation of 0.63 (Appendix

E).

The value of the standard deviation connotes that there is a small dispersion of age

among respondents. Majority of them are 14 years old (69.4%), the youngest respondents are

13 (10.2 %) and the oldest respondent is 18 years old or 0.7 %.

This result implies that most of the respondents started their schooling at the age of 6,

the age prescribed by the government to begin their education; hence, majority of the

respondents were 14 years old during their second year.

Gender

The distribution of gender of respondents is presented in Figure 11. The result

revealed that more than half (52.4%) or 77 are females and 70 or 47.6 % are males.

Enrolment for CLSU high schools showed that there were more females than males.
125

Figure 11. Gender distribution of respondents

This is in coherence with the studies earlier reported by Velasquez (2007), Mariano

(2005), and Inocencio (1997) whose respondents in CLSU and Muñoz National High School

were female dominated.

School Location

Figure 12 shows that majority of the respondents, 59.9 % or 88 are studying in rural

schools. The for reason being as such is that the three outreach schools, ULHS Bibiclat,

Palusapis and Pinili are located in the barrios in order to cater to the needs of those students

who live in the rural areas. Castro (1979) stated in his study that this way, these students need

not go to the town proper to continue their secondary education.


126

Figure 12. Distribution of the respondents in rural and urban schools

A total of 40.1 % or 59 of the respondents disclosed that their schools are strategically

located in urban communities. These schools are those near the town proper and have access

to internet cafes, reading centers and established libraries.

ICT Accessibility

Figure 13 below shows the distribution of respondents on ICT accessibility. A total of

106 or 72.1 % of the respondents have access to basic information and communication

technologies such as internet, e-libraries, reading centers, and fully equipped libraries. These

students enjoy the benefit of ICT, mostly access information and communication technology

at home and not in school. Espino (2008) noted in her study about the ICT capability of

schools in Nueva Ecija that most of the student respondents obtain their experience of using
127

ICT from friends and classmates who bring them to nearby internet cafes.

Figure 13. Distribution of the respondents who have access to ICT

A total of 41 or 27.9 %, however, revealed that they have limited or no access at all to

these technologies. Espino’s (2008) study revealed that most high schools of Nueva Ecija,

had no appropriate master plan, time frame, budget plan and separate body for ICT, limited

access to ICT equipment, internet and landline connections. Students have limited access

and use of ICT equipment and rarely use ICT for school work.

Parents' Educational Attainment

For the educational attainment of the respondents' parents, Figure 14 shows that most of

the fathers,

38.8 % or 57

entered high

school and

finished their
128

secondary education. A total of 55 or 37.4 %, on the other hand, had been in college and

finished their degree. Twenty or 13.6 % of the respondents' fathers attended graduate studies, 10

or 6.8% were elementary graduates and only five or 3.4% of them obtained vocational courses.

Figure 14. Distribution of the parents’ educational attainment

Moreover, the result of the study further revealed that majority of the mothers of the

respondents, 64 or 43.5% enrolled and finished college. About 51 or 34.7% were high school

graduates. A total number of 22 or 15% attended graduate schooling and nine or 6.1% finished

their elementary education. Only one or 0.7% had vocational course.

Similar results for the father’s educational attainment is in coherence with the results

of respective studies of Mariano (2005), Leoveras (2001) and Inocencio (1997) who found

out that majority of the CLSU students’ fathers were high school graduates.

Parents' Occupation

The nature of work or job of the parents was classified into blue collar, white collar jobs
129

and non-earning. As shown in Figure 15, majority of the respondents' father occupation (106 or

72.1%) was blue collar job. Blue collar jobs are those occupations which entail manual and

physical application (Carbonel, 2008). These include barber, driver, plumber, vendor, worker,

cook and farmer among others. Only 39 or 26.5 % had fathers whose line of work is categorized

as white collar. White collar jobs include police, teacher, engineer, architect, researcher, food

scientist, nurse, government employee, veterinarian and other degree holders. Only two or 1.4%

were non-earning. These include pastor, jobless, or deceased. This result can be attributed to

their educational attainment wherein most of the fathers of the respondents finished secondary

education.

Figure 15. Distribution of the parents’ occupation

Most of the mothers, 65 or 44.2% were non-earning or plain housewives. A total of 42

or 28.6% had blue collar jobs whose line of work includes vendor, domestic helper, cook and

farmer. Forty of the mothers or 27.2% had white collar jobs. They were the professionals who

work as teacher, veterinarian, engineer, nurse, doctor, food scientists, etc. Although most of the
130

respondents’ mothers enrolled and finished college, majority still preferred to stay at home in

charge of household chores.

The result of this study is congruent with the studies of De Guzman (2005) and

Inocencio (1997) whose respondents’ (CLSU students) fathers had blue collar jobs or mostly

farmers and majority of mothers were plain housewives.

Monthly Family Income

Figure 16 shows the distribution of the respondents’ monthly family income. Family

income refers to the amount earned by all members of the family. It is usually the indicator of

the parents’ ability to fulfill the basic necessities of the family including their children’s

education. The mean monthly family income of the respondents was Php 25,957.82 with the

standard deviation of Php 45,551.93 (Appendix E). The 2007 report of the Department of

Labor and Employment states that the poverty line is about Php 17, 652.00 per month.

Majority of the respondents’ families (103 or 70.1%) had low family incomes while

only 44 or 29.9% of the respondents had high family income. This can be attributed to the
Figure 16. Distribution of respondents’ monthly family income
fact that most of the parents had blue collar jobs so their income was considerably much
131

lower than those with white collar jobs.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) estimated in 2006 that the

poverty incidence in the country is equal to 32.9%. In other words, almost 33 out of 100

Filipinos are considered poor. The increase in poverty incidence is reported as caused by

scarcity of job opportunities, social and economic exclusion, and poor economic policies

(Molano, 2010).

The findings of this study are in coherence with the results of the studies of

Velasquez (2007), De Guzman (2005) and Mariano (2005) that majority of the Filipino

families have incomes just below the poverty line.


132

SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

Summary

This study was conducted to assess the epistemological beliefs and learning styles of

students for the SY 2009-2010 in Biology in the five high schools of Central Luzon State

University. This was also done to specifically determine the predictive ability and the

relationship of the respondents’ epistemological beliefs and learning styles to academic

performance. The influence of moderator variables such as respondents’ age, gender, school

location, ICT accessibility, parents’ educational attainment, parents’ occupation and family

income on the relationship between the respondents’ performance in Biology and their

epistemological beliefs and learning styles was also investigated in this study.

A total of 147 sophomore students of SY 2009-2010 from the five high schools of the

Central Luzon State University such as the University Laboratory High Schools Bibiclat,

Palusapis, Pinili, Agricultural Science and Technology School and the University Science

High School participated in this study. A survey questionnaire comprising of three parts such

as the Socio-Demographic Characteristics, Learning Styles Inventory developed by Grasha

and Reichmann and Epistemic Belief Inventory by Schraw et al. was used in this study. Data

were analyzed with descriptive statistics, correlational analysis and multiple regression

analysis using Statistica and SPSS.

The results of the study showed that that there were more collaborative (33.3%),

participants (25.2%) and dependent (21.1%) respondents with regard to their learning styles.

This prevailing behavior of being collaborative, participant and dependent were highly
133

attributed to the cultural context and much of educational reforms in the Philippine education

where there is a general shift of teacher-centered to student-centered setting.

As regards to their epistemological beliefs, most of the population (87.1% or 128) had

emergent belief in all of the dimensions of their epistemological beliefs. The most evident of

which is reflected in their beliefs in the “Quick Learning” and “Innate Ability” which showed

of 2.93 and 3.29, respectively. They were undecided as to whether knowledge is “in born”

or can be acquired through experience and knowledge is learnt quickly or not at all or can be

obtained gradually. On the other hand, majority of the respondents tended to show immature

or naïve responses with regard to the influence of the authority or the experts as most of them

still regard their teachers as the ultimate sources of information.

Majority of the respondents, about 73.4% or 108 were average performing students in

Biology. With regard to the relationship between the students’ learning styles and

epistemological beliefs, results revealed that independent learners had a tendency to have a

sophisticated belief in the simplicity of knowledge, in their innate ability and as well in the

speed of knowledge acquisition in Biology. Students who scored high on avoidant learning

styles are more likely to consider that ability is not innate and the learning is acquired

gradually. However, they tended to believe that knowledge is certain and evident when it

comes to Biology. The significant correlation between the collaborative learning style and

certainty of knowledge and innate ability may mean that learners who scored high on this

kind of learning style believe that knowledge is constantly evolving and that whatever

knowledge they have in Biology is a result of continuous experience. Dependent learning

style had a tendency to believe that knowledge is complex and uncertain as a result of their
134

own experience and tended to believe less in omniscient authority. Competitive learning style

had highly significant correlation with the beliefs of innate ability and quick learning and

participant learning style has highly significant correlation with the simplicity and certainty

of knowledge.

Meanwhile, a highly significant relationship was noted in the learning styles of the

respondents, such as participant (r=0.266, p<0.01), and collaborative (r=0.217, p<0.01) and

the students’ performance in Biology. Respondents’ whose learning styles such as participant

and collaborative had the tendency to earn high grades. A significant but negative correlation

was noted between the students’ avoidant learning style (r= -0.288, p<0.01) and their

performance in Biology. This suggested that students who practice avoidant learning style

had the tendency to earn lower grade in Biology.

Correlational analysis showed that there was significant relationship between

epistemological beliefs and academic performance of students. Findings revealed that

certainty of knowledge exerted influence on the students’ performance in Biology.

Regression analysis showed that avoidant learning style (β = -0.277, p<.01) and

certainty of knowledge (β = 0.203, p<.05) were identified as predictors of academic

performance in Biology. On the other hand, hierarchical regression analysis revealed that

none of the moderating variables moderated the relationship between the learning styles and

academic performance. However, the test revealed that school location had a direct effect on

the students’ belief in certainty of knowledge and academic performance (β = -0.295, p<.01).

ICT had an indirect effect on the omniscient authority belief and academic performance of

students (β = 0.340, p<.01) and father’s educational attainment indirectly affected the
135

relationship between the students’ belief in innate ability and academic performance

(β = 0.307, p<.01).

The results of the study revealed that the students of the five high schools of CLSU

are primarily female and majority of the respondents were 14 years old. A total of 59.9% or

88 participants were from rural schools and they had access to information and

communications technology. Fathers were mostly high school graduates while mothers were

college graduates. Most of these fathers, 72.1% or 106 had blue collar jobs, mostly farming

and many of them had low family incomes (70.1% or 103). The mothers (43.5% or 64), on

the other hand, despite, the occurrence of higher level of education, were mostly college

graduates but remained at home to attend to household chores.

Conclusion

On the basis of the results of this study, the following findings were noted:

1. Most respondents had preference on collaborating with their classmates than

competing with them; respondents were also found to be more participative learners

than avoidant; however, they tend to be more dependent on their teachers and

classmates than being independent when it comes to school activities;

2. With regard to the overall epistemological beliefs, majority of the respondents had

emergent or mixed beliefs about the nature of knowledge and the process of acquiring

knowledge. Only a small number of respondents had sophisticated beliefs. Most

respondents had a relative sophisticated belief about “Quick Learning” which means

that they assumed that learning is of gradual process that changes over a period of
136

time. They exhibited naïve belief, on the other hand, with Omniscient Authority in

which case they mostly believed that the teachers are utmost authority or sources of

knowledge in learning Biology. In general, students exhibited less sophisticated

beliefs, specifically in Simple Learning, Omniscient Authority, Certain Knowledge

and Innate Ability;

3. Most of the respondents were average performing students in Biology;

4. Independent learning style had highly significant positive relationship with the

students’ belief in simplicity of knowledge and innate ability and significant

relationship with quick learning. Avoidant learning style had high positive correlation

with quick learning and innate ability and significant but negatively correlated with

the students’ belief in the certainty of knowledge. Collaborative learning style had

high positive correlation with the certainty of knowledge and significantly related

with innate ability. Dependent learning style had highly significant and positive

relationship with the students’ beliefs in the simplicity and certainty of knowledge

and omniscient authority and was significantly correlated with innate ability.

Competitive learning styles, on the other hand, was highly correlated with the innate

ability and quick learning beliefs and significantly correlated with simple knowledge

beliefs of the students. Finally, participant learning style had highly significant

correlations with the students’ belief in simplicity and certainty of knowledge and the

omniscient authority.
137

5. Respondents who have collaborative and participant learning styles would tend to

perform better in Biology while those who exhibit avoidant learning styles were

found to have lower achievement in Biology.

6. The respondents’ epistemological beliefs on certainty of knowledge had significant

relationship with their performance in Biology.

7. Avoidant learning style and certainty of knowledge were identified as predictors of

academic performance in Biology.

8. None of the moderating variables moderated the relationship of learning style and

academic performance.

9. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that school location had direct effect on the

relationship of students’ beliefs in certainty of knowledge and academic performance

while ICT had indirect effect on the omniscient authority beliefs and academic

performance of students and father’s educational attainment indirectly affect the

relationship between the students’ beliefs in innate ability and academic performance.

10. Most of the respondents are female, who were mostly 14 years old who studied in

rural school and had considerable access to information and communications

technology. Most of them had fathers who were high school graduates whose jobs

were mainly farming. Their mothers, though, mostly reached collegiate level, were

plain housewives.

Recommendations

Based on the results of this study, the following recommendations are made:

1. Teachers, principals, and policy makers should give enough importance to developing
138

students’ epistemological beliefs and learning styles throughout their formal

education. Trainings and workshops that would promote mature epistemological

beliefs (sophisticated) and more positive learning styles (independent, collaborative

and participant) should be arranged by the teachers to help develop the skills of their

students.

2. Students’ epistemological beliefs and learning style may be assessed to help the

teachers in designing effective classroom activities.

3. Future studies should consider the teacher’s epistemological beliefs and teaching style

and the relationship of these to students’ epistemological beliefs and learning styles.

4. To further investigate the students’ learning styles and epistemological beliefs, the use

of other instruments which entail qualitative data that can be gathered using

interviews and observation to substantiate the discussion on students’ epistemological

beliefs is suggested. In addition, it is suggested that more appropriate approaches in

analyzing data like structure equation modeling should be used.

5. Longitudinal studies can be conducted to examine the change of students’

epistemological beliefs. This is to see whether change in epistemological beliefs can

lead to better performance in Biology.


139

LITERATURE CITED

ABDEL- MAJEED, U. M. & A. ISMAIL. 2005. Predicting Gifted EFL Students’ Goal
Orientation, Cognitive Engagement, Perceived Linguistic Competence, and
Achievement with Epistemological Beliefs. Journal of Minia Faculty of
Education. The Journal of Educational Research, 92 (3), 52-75.

ADAMS, G. R., B. A. RYAN, L. KEATING & J. MIDGETT. 2000. Family climate,


parent-child interactions about school issues, children’s characteristics and school
achievement: A test of a family-school relationship model. Contemporary
Educational Psychology, 27, 132–143.

ALDRIDGE, J. M., B. J. FRASER & T. C. I. HUANG. 1999. Investigating classroom


environments in Taiwan and Australia with multiple research methods. The
Journal of Educational Research, 93(1), 48-62.

ALLIG, B. D. 2008. Learning styles and multiple intelligence of BSED students major in
Biology of the three universities in Region III. Unpublished master’s thesis,
Central Luzon State University, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines.

AQUINAS, M. S. 1990. Analysis of high school seniors' learning styles as they relate to
student achievement and attribution in the science curriculum. Dissertation
Abstracts International. 53: 1116A.

AYUSTE, L.V. & M. J. H. DURAN, 2009. Learning styles in Araling Panlipunan IV of the
senior students of the University Laboratory High School– Palusapis S.Y. 2009-
2010. Unpublished research. Department of English, ULHS-Palusapis. Science
City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.

BAKER, D. 2003. Equity issues in science education. In B. Fraser & K. Tobin (Eds.).
International Handbook of Science Education. London: Kluwer Academic.

BARBE, M. & A. S. MILONE. 1981. The impact of students' preferred learning style
variables in a distance education course: A case study. Portales: Eastern New
Mexico University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 358 836).
140

BARNARD, L., 2007. Perceptions of online course communications and collaboration.


Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 10(4).
http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter104/barnard104.html.

BAXTER MAGOLDA, M. B. 1992a. Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender-related


patterns in students’ intellectual development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Contemporary Educational Psychol. 18: 210-250.

BAXTER MAGOLDA, M. B. 1993. Students’ epistemologies and academic experiences:


Implications for pedagogy. Review of Higher Education, 15(3), 265-286.

BAXTER MAGOLDA, M. B. 1994. Teaching to promote holistic learning and


development. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 82, 88-98.

BELENKY, M. F., B. M. CLINCHY, N. R. GOLDBERGER & J. M. TARULE. 1986.


Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. New York:
Basic Books.

BENDIXEN, L. D., G. SCHRAW & M. E. DUNKLE. 1998. Epistemic beliefs and moral
reasoning. The Journal of Psychology. 132: 187-200.

BERNARDO, A. B. I. 2003. Approaches to learning and academic achievement of Filipino


students. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 164(1), 101-114.

BOEKAERTS, M. 1998. Do culturally rooted self-construal affect students’ conceptualization


of control over learning? Educational Psychologist, 22 (2-3), 87-108.

BOUJAUDE, S. 1992. The relationship between students’ learning strategies and the change
in their misunderstandings during a high school chemistry course. Journal of
Research in Science Teaching, 29(7), 687-699.

BUEHL, M. M. & P. A. ALEXANDER. 2001. Beliefs about academic knowledge.


Educational Psychology Review, 13, 385–418.
141

BUEHL, M. M., P. A. ALEXANDER & P. K. MURPHY. 2002. Beliefs about schooled


knowledge: Domain general or domain specific. Contemporary Edu. Psychol. 27:
415-449.

CAMPBELL, J., J. BROWNLEE & D. SMITH. 1996. The differential impact of teachers’
approaches to teaching on secondary students’ approaches to learning. Education
Research and Perspectives, 23(2), 95-111.

CANO, F. 2005. Epistemological beliefs and approaches to learning: Their changes through
secondary school and their influence on academic performance. Br. J. Edu.
Psychol., 75: 203-221.

CANO, F. 2007. Approaches to learning and study orchestrations in high school students.
European Journal of Educational Psychology, 22, 131–151.

CANO, F. & M. CARDELLE-ELAWAR. 2008. Family environment, epistemological


beliefs, learning strategies, and academic performance: A path analysis. Springer
Journal of Educational Psychology, 19(2), 167–187.

CANO, F. & L. RODRIGUEZ (2008). Epistemological beliefs and


approaches to learning: Their change through secondary school
and their influence on academic performance. British Journal of
Educational Psychology, 75, 203–221.

CARBONEL, L. 2008. Teaching classroom management and learning styles as correlates of


achievement in General Chemistry in Central Luzon State University.
Unpublished masteral thesis. CLSU IGS, Science City of Muñoz.

CARSON, L. 1990. Cooperative learning in the home economics classroom. Journal of


Home Economics, 82(4), 37-41.

CASIS, E. 1995. Learning styles, causal distribution and academic achievement among high
school seniors from Notre Dame schools in Cotabato. Unpublished masteral thesis.
Dela Salle University, Manila.
142

CASTRO, L. S. 1979. Follow – up study of the first graduates of Central Luzon State
University Barrio Development School. Research and Development. Central
Luzon State University, Nueva Ecija.

CASTRO, O. & V. PECK. 2005. Learning styles and foreign language learning difficulties.
Foreign Language Annals (38) 3: 401-409.

CAVALLO, A. M. L. 1996. Meaningful learning, reasoning ability, and students’


understanding and problem solving of topics in genetics. Journal of Research in
Science Teaching, 33(6), 625-656.

CAVALLO, A. M. L., M. ROZMAN, J. BLICKENSTAFF & N. WALKER. 2003.


Learning, reasoning, motivation, and epistemological beliefs: Differing approaches
in college science courses. Journal of College Science Teaching, 33(3), 18-23.

CHAN, K. & R. G. ELLIOTT. 2002. Exploratory study of Hong Kong teacher education
students’ epistemological beliefs: Cultural perspectives and implications on beliefs
research. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27(3), 392-414.

CHANDLER, M. J., D. HALLETT & B. W. SOKOL 2002. Competing claims about


competing knowledge claims. In P.R. Pintrich (Ed.), Personal epistemology: The
psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing (pp. 347-364). Mahwah, NJ,
USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

CHENG, R. C. 1994. Classroom environment and student affective performance: An


effective profile. Journal of Experimental Education, 62(3), 221-240.

CONLEY, A. M., P. R. PINTRICH, I. WEKIRI & D. HARRISON. 2004. Changes in


epistemological beliefs in elementary science students. Contemporary Educational
Psychology, 29, 186-204.

CONLEY, A.M., P.R. PINTRICH, I. VEKIRI, & D. HARRISON. 2004. Changes in


epistemological beliefs in elementary science students. Contemporary
Educational Psychology, 29, 186 - 204.
143

COOL, V. A., & T. Z. KEITH. 1991. Testing a model of school learning: Direct and indirect
effects on academic achievement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 16,
28–44.

DART, B., P. BURNETT, N. PURDIE, G. BOULTON-LEWIS, J. CAMPBELL & D.


SMITH. 2000. Students’ conceptions of learning, the classroom environment, and
approaches to learning. The Journal of Educational Research, 94(3), 263-270.

DAUGHENBAUGH, B. 1985. Adult college student's preferences for teaching styles


(Doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1985).
Dissertation Abstracts International. 46-12A: 3567.

DAVID, E. S. 1999. The effects of Filipino medium of instruction on the academic


performance in Botany 100 laboratory. Unpublished masteral thesis. IGS CLSU,
Science City of Muñoz.

DAVID, E. S. 2008. Students conceptual understanding and epistemological belief of plant


cellular respiration in a constructivist learning environment. Unpublished
dissertation. Dela Salle University, Manila.

DAVIS, R. B., C. A. MAHLER & N. NODDINGS 1990. Constructivist views on the


teaching and learning of mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics
Education by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

DE GUZMAN, A. 2005. Attributions, learning styles and attitudes as correlates of


achievement of General Chemistry students in Central Luzon State University.
Unpublished masteral thesis. IGS CLSU, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

DIAZ, D. P. & R. B. CARTNAL. 1999. Students' learning styles in two classes: Online
distance learning and equivalent on-campus. College Teaching 47(4): 130-135.

DISETH, A. & O. MARTINSEN. 2003. Approaches to learning, cognitive style, and


motives as predictors of academic achievement. Educational Psychology, 23(2),
195-207.
144

DORSEY, O. & M. PIERSON. 1984. A descriptive study of adult learning style in a


nontraditional education program. Lifelong Learning, 7(8): 8-11.

DRYSDALE, M. T., P. ROSS & R. A. SCHULZ. 2001. “Cognitive learning styles and
academic performance in 19 First-year university courses: Successful students
versus students at risk.” Journal of Education for Students At Risk 6. 3: 271- 289.

DUELL, O. K. & M. SCHOMMER-AIKENS. 2001. Measures of people’s beliefs about


knowledge and learning. Educational Psychology Review. 13(4): 419-449.

DUNN, R. & S. A. GRIGGS. 1995. Multiculturalism and Learning Styles: Teaching and
Counseling adolescents. Westport, CT: Praeger.

DUNN, R., S. GRIGGS, J. OLSEN, M. BEASLEY & B. GORMAN. 1995. A meta-


analysis validation of the Dunn and Dunn model of learning style preferences.
Journal of Educational Research.

EGGEN, N. & C. KAUCHAK. 1994. Styles of Learning and Teaching; an integrated


outline of educational psychology for students, teachers and lecturers. Chichester,
UK: John Wiley.

ELBY, A. 2001. Defining personal epistemology: A response to Hofer & Pintrich (1997) and
Sandoval (2005). Journal of the Learning Sciences. 18: 138-149.

ELDER, A. D. 1999. An exploration of fifth grade students’ epistemological beliefs in


science and an investigation of their relation to science learning. Dissertation
Abstracts International, 60(05), 1449

ELEY, M. G. 1992. Differential adoption of study approaches within individual students.


Higher Education, 23(3), 231-254.

ETNTWISTLE, N. J. & P. RAMSDEN, 1983. Understanding student learning. London:


Croom Helm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
145

ETNWISTLE, N. J. 1991. Approaches to learning and perceptions of the learning


environment: Introduction to the special issue. Higher Education, 22(3), 201-204.

ENWISTLE, N. J., & H. TAIT, 1990. Approaches to learning, evaluations of teaching, and
preferences for contrasting academic environments. Higher Education, 19(2),
169-194.

ESPINO, Z. P. 2008. Use of information and communication technology in public high


schools in Nueva Ecija. Unpublished dissertation. IGS Central Luzon State
University. Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.

FISHER, M. & D. E. BAIRD, 2005. Online learning design that fosters student support,
self-regulation, and retention. Campus-wide Information Systems, 22(2), 88-107.

GERLACH, J. M. 1994. "Is this collaboration?" In Bosworth, K. and Hamilton, S. J. (Eds.),


Collaborative Learning: Underlying Processes and Effective Techniques, New
Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 59.

GRASHA, A. F. 1996. Teaching with style. Pittsburgh, PA: Alliance.

GRASHA-RIECHMANN, S. & A. F. GRASHA. 1996. The Grasha-Riechmann student


learning style scales. Reston, VA: National Association of Secondary School
Journal. 22, 122-142

GREENE, J. A., R. AZEVEDO & R. HANCOCK. 2003. Embedding personal


epistemology research with academic self-efficacy and academic performance.
Journal of Educational Psychology Review. 35, 160-183

GREGORC, A. F. 1978. Transaction ability inventory. Connecticut, Columbia: Gregorc


Associates. Vol 40, 151-183

GRIGGS, S. & R. DUNN. 1996. Hispanic-American students and learning style. East
Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. ERIC. Document
Reproduction Service no. ED 393607.
146

HAMMER, D. 1994. Epistemological beliefs in introductory physics. Cognition and


Instruction, 12, 151-183.

HAYCOCK, K. 2001. Closing the achievement gap. Educational Leadership, 58, 6, 6-11.
WilsonWeb July 16, 2001.

HAYES, J. & C. W. ALLINSON. 1997. ‘Learning styles and training and development:
lessons from educational research’, Educational Psychology. 15, 160-190

HEWSON, S. S. 1985. Historical problem solving: A study of the cognitive processes used
in the evaluation of documentary and pictorial evidence. Journal of Educational
Psychology. 83(1): 73-87.

HOFER, B. K. & P. R. PINTRICH. 1997. The development of epistemological theories:


Beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to learning. Review of
Educational Research. 67 (1): 88-140.

HOFER, B. K. 1999. Personal epistemology research: Implications for learning and


teaching. Journal of Educational Psychology Review. 13(4): 353-383.

HOFER, B. K. 2005. Personal epistemology as a psychological construct and educational


construct: An introduction. In B. K. Hofer and P. R. Pintrich (Eds.), Personal
epistemology. . Journal of Educational Psychology. 87(3): 92-105

HOFER, B. K. 2006. Domain specificity of personal epistemology: Resolved questions,


persistent issues, new models psychology department. Int. J. Edu. Res. 45: 85-95.

ICKENS, W. & M. A. LAYDEN. 1978. Attributional Styles. In J. Harvey, W. Ickes, and R


Kidd (Eds), New Directions in attribution research (volume , p. 119-151), NJ:
Lawrence Elbaum.

INOCENCIO, R. F. 1997. Factors affecting the academic performance of CLSU CAT non-
qualifiers. Unpublished masteral thesis, Central Luzon State University, Science
City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines.
147

JOHNSON, B. & R. MCCLURE. 2004. Validity and reliability of a shortened, revised


version of the constructivist learning environment survey (CLES). Learning
Environments Research, 7, 65-80.

JOHNSON, D. W. & R. T. JOHNSON. 1987. Learning together and alone: Cooperative,


competitive, and individualistic. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. pp 89-102

JOHNSON, D. W. & R. T. JOHNSON. 1991. Learning together and alone: Cooperative,


competitive, and individualistic. Third Edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Hall. pp.39-50

JOHNSON, D. W., R. T. JOHNSON & E. J. HOLUBEC. 1986. Circles of learning:


Cooperation in the classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company. pp.39-50

KAGAN, S. 1994. Cooperative learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publications.

KAHLE, J. B. & J. MEECE. 1994. Research on gender issues in the classroom. In D.


Gabel (Eds.), Handbook of research on science teaching and learning (pp.13-39).

KAIN, D. J. 2003. Teacher-Centered versus Student-Centered: Balancing Constraint and


Theory in the Composition Classroom. Pedagogy. 3(1), 104-108.

KARDASH, C. A. M. & K. L. HOWELL. 2000. Effect of epistemological beliefs on


topics-specific beliefs on undergraduates’ cognitive and strategic processing of
dual-positional text. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(3), 524–535.

KARDASH, C. M. & R. J. SCHOLES. 1996. Effects of preexisting beliefs,


epistemological beliefs, and need for cognition on interpretation of controversial
issues. Journal of Educational Psychology. 88(2): 260-271.

KEMBER, D. 2001. Beliefs about knowledge and the process of teaching and learning as a
factor in adjusting to study in higher education. Studies in Higher Education.
26(2): 205-221.
148

KERLINGER, F. 1986. Foundations of Behavioral Research. 3rd Edition. NY: Holt,


Rinehart, Winston.

KING, P. M. & K. S. KITCHENER. 1994. The reflective judgment model: Twenty years
of research on epistemic cognition. In B. K. Hofer and P. R. Pintrich (Eds.),
Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing.
Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum. (pp. 37-61)

KING, P. M. 2000. Learning to make reflective judgments. New Directions for Teaching and
Learning, Journal of Educational Psychology. 82: 15-26.

KIZILGÜNEŞ, B. 2007. Predictive influence of students’ achievement motivation,


meaningful learning approach and epistemological beliefs on classification concept
achievement. Unpublished Master Thesis, Middle East Technical University,
Ankara, Turkey.

KOLB, D. A. 1984. Experimental learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

KOLB, D. A. 1986. Learning style inventory: Technical manual (Rev. ed.). Boston, MA:
McBer.

KUHN, D. & M. WEINSTOCK. 2000. What is epistemological thinking and why does it
matter?. New Jersey: Erlbaum. pp: 66-75

KUHN, D. 1991. The Skills of Argument. 1st Edn., New York: Cambridge University Press,
ISBN-10: 052142349X.

LAROCHELLE, M. & J. DESAUTELS. 1991. “Of course it is obvious”: Adolescents’


ideas of scientific knowledge. International Journal of Science Education, 13, 373-
389.

LAURILLARD, D. 1994. Process of student learning. Higher Education 8: Elsevier


Publishing Company. Amsterdam.
149

LEDERMAN, N. & M. DRUGER. 1985. Classroom factors related to changes in students’


conceptions of the nature of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 22,
649-662.

LEOVERAS, M. C. 2001. Student's learning modalities, teachers' teaching strategies and


academic performance of CFY students in General Botany and General Zoology.
Unpublished masteral thesis. IGS CLSU, Science City of Muñoz.

LEROY, C. & B. SYMES. 2001. Teachers’ perspectives on the family backgrounds of


children at risk. McGill Journal of Education, 36, 1, 45-60. WilsonWeb July 9,
2001.

LIM, C. & J. TORR. 2007. Singaporean early childhood teachers’ beliefs about literacy
development in a multilingual context. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education.
35(4): 409-434.

LODEWYK, K. R. 2007. Relations among epistemological beliefs, academic achievement,


and task performance in secondary school students. Educational Psychology, 27(3),
307-327.

LOGAN, K. & P. THOMAS. 2002. Learning styles in distance education students learning
to program. In Kuljis, J., Baldwin, L. & Scoble, R. (Eds) Proceedings of the
Fourteenth Annual Workshop of the Psychology of Programming Interest Group
Pp. 29 – 44. The University of Kent, Canterbury, England.

MARIANO, A. 2005. Student factors affecting the teaching style preference in General
Biology. Unpublished masteral thesis. IGS CLSU, Science City of Muñoz.

MARTIN, N. K. & Z. N. YIN. 1999. Beliefs regarding classroom management style:


Differences between urban and rural secondary level teachers. Journal of Research
in Rural Education, 15(2), 101-105.

MARY, O. 2010. Competition in Classroom. Designing groupwork: Strategies for the


heterogeneous classroom (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.
150

MASON, N. A. & D. BOSCOLO. 2004. Epistemological understanding in different


judgment domains: Relationship with gender, grade level and Curriculum. Int. J.
Edu. Res., 45: 43-56.

MCCARTHY, B. 1985. What 4-mat training teaches us about staff development.


Educational Leadership. 42(7): 61-68.

MOEMEKA, A. A. 1996. Interpersonal communication in communalistic societies in Africa.


In W.B. Gudykunst, S. Ting-Toomey, & T. Nishida (Eds.), Communication in
personal relationships across cultures (pp. 197-216). London: Sage.

MOLANO, W. B. L. 2010. Measuring poverty in the Philippines using equivalised


household income. Unpublished special problem of Institute of Statistics,
University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna.

MOORE, W. S. 2002. Understanding learning in a postmodern world:


Reconsidering the Perry scheme of intellectual and ethical
development. In B. K. Hofer and P. R. Pintrich (Eds.), Personal
epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing (pp. 37
61). Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

MUIS, K. R. 2004. Personal epistemology and mathematics: A critical review and synthesis
of research. Review of Educational Research. 74(3): 317-377.

NISBET, S. & P. GRIMBEEK. 2004. Primary teachers’ beliefs and practices with respect to
compulsory numeracy testing. Paper presented in MERGA 2004 annual
conference.

PANITZ, T. 1996. A Definition of Collaborative vs Cooperative Learning. Wisconsin Center


for Education Research. Cooperative Learning. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Office of
Research.

PAULSEN, M. B. & K. A. FELDMAN. 1999. Epistemological beliefs and self-regulated


learning. Journal of Staff Programming and Organizational Development. 16: 83-
91.
151

PAULSEN, M. B. & K.A. FELDMAN. 1999. Student motivation and epistemological


beliefs. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 78: 17-25.

PEI, D. N. 2004. The development and modernization of basic education in China. Peking
University Education Review. 2: 63-69.

PERRY, W. G. 1970. Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years: A
scheme. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

PHAN, H. P. 2008a. Multiple regression analysis of epistemological beliefs, learning


approaches, and self-regulated learning. Elect. J. Res. Edu. Psychol. 6: 157-184.

PHILBIN, M., E. MEIER, S. HUFFMAN & P. BOVERIE. 1995. A survey of gender and
learning styles. Sex Roles: A journal of Research. (32), 7-8: April 1995.

PIESCHL, S., E. STAHL & R. BROMME, 2007. Epistemological beliefs and self-
regulated learning with hypertext. Metacognition Learning, 3, 17-37.

PINTRICH, P. R. 2002. The role of goal orientation in self-regulated learning. In M.


Boekaerts & P. R. Pintrich & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation (pp.
451-502). San Diego: Academic Press.

PIZZO, J., R. DUNN & K. DUNN. 1990. A sound approach to reading: Responding to
students’ learning styles. Journal of Reading, Writing, and Learning Disabilities
International. 6(3): 249-260.

QIAN, G. & D. ALVERMANN. 1995. Role of epistemological beliefs and learned


helplessness in secondary school students’ learning science concepts from test.
Journal of Educational Psychology. 87: 282-292.

RAMSDEN, P. 1979. Student learning and perceptions of the academic environment.


Higher Education, 8(4), 411-427.
152

ROTH, G. & S. ROYCHOUDURY. 1997. Beyond expertise: theory, practice and the
reflexive practitioner. Journal of Education Review. 6(2): 93-107.

RUKAVINA, I. & M. DANEMAN. 1996. Integration and its effect on acquiring knowledge
about competing scientific theories from text. Journal of Educational Psychology.
88(2): 272-287.

RYAN, A. G. 1984. Monitoring text comprehension: Individual differences in


epistemological standards. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(2), 248-258.

RYAN, B. A. & G. R. ADAMS. 1995. The family-school relationships model. In B. A.


Ryan, G. R. Adams, T. P. Gullotta, R. P. Weissberg, & R. L. Hampton (Eds.), The
family-School Connection: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 3–28). Newbury
Park, CA: Sage. pp: 215-265

RYAN, M. P. 1984. Monitoring text comprehension: Individual differences in


epistemological standards. Journal of Educational Psychology. 76(2): 248-258.

SADLER-SMITH, E. 1996. Approaches to studying: Age, gender and academic


performance. Educational Studies, 22(3), 367-380.

SANTOS, J. P. 2008. Learning styles and academic performance in Biology of high school
students. Unpublished research. CLSU IGS, Science City of Muñoz.

SARASIN, L. C. 1998. Learning Style Perspectives: Impact in the Classroom. Madison, WI:
Atwood. pp: 122-145

SCHOMMER, M . 1994a. An emerging conceptualization of epistemological beliefs and


their role in learning. In R. Garner & P.A. Alexander (Eds.), Beliefs about text and
instruction with text (pp. 25-40). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

SCHOMMER, M. 1994b. Comparisons of beliefs about the nature of knowledge and


learning among post-secondary students. Research in Higher Education. 34(3):
355-371.
153

SCHOMMER, M. 1993. Epistemological development and academic performance among


secondary students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85, 406–411.

SCHOMMER, M. 1990. Effects of beliefs about the nature of knowledge on


comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 498–504.

SCHOMMER, M. 1988. Students’ beliefs about the nature of knowledge: What are they and
how do they affect comprehension? Cambridge, MA: Illinois University, Urbana
Center for the Study of Reading Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc.

SCHOMMER, M, S. BROOKHART, R. HUTTER, & W. C. MAU, 2000. Understanding


middle students’ beliefs about knowledge and learning using a multidimensional
paradigm. The Journal of Educational Research, 94(2), 120-127.

SCHOMMER, M. & R. HUTTER. 2002. Epistemological beliefs and thinking about


everyday controversial issues. The Journal of Psychology, 136(1), 5-21.

SCHOMMER, M., A. CROUSE & N. RHODES. 1992. Epistemological beliefs and


mathematical text comprehension: Believing it is simple does not make is so.
Journal of Educational Psychology. 84(4): 435-43.

SCHOMMER, M., C. CALVERT, G. GARIGLIETTI, & A. BAJAJ, 1997. The


development of epistemological beliefs among secondary students: A longitudinal
study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 37–40.

SCHOMMER-AIKINS, M. & P. WALKER. 1997. Explaining the epistemological belief


system: Introducing the embedded systemic model and coordinated research
approach. Educational Psychologist. 39(1): 19-29.

SCHOMMER-AIKINS, M. 2002. An evolving theoretical framework for epistemological


belief system. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
154

SCHOMMER-AIKINS, M. 2004. Explaining the epistemological belief system:


Introducing the embedded systemic model and coordinated research approach.
Educational psychologist. 39: 19-29.

SCHOMMER-AIKINS, M. & M. EASTER, 2006. Ways of knowing and epistemological


beliefs: Combined effect on academic performance. Educational Psychology,
26(3), 411-423.

SCHOMMER-AIKINS, M., P. DUELL & R. HUTTER. 2005. Epistemological beliefs and


thinking about everyday controversial issues. The Journal of Psychology. 136(1):
5-21.

SCHRADER, D. E. 2004. Intellectual safety, moral atmosphere and epistemology in college


classrooms. Journal of Adult Development, 11(2): 87-101.

SCHRAW, G., L. D. BENDIXEN & M. E DUNKLE. 2002. Development and validation


of the Epistemological Beliefs Inventory (EBI). In B. K. Hofer & P. R. Pintrich
(Eds.), Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and
knowing. (pp.261- 275). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

SCHRAW, G., M. E. DUNKLE & L. D. BENDIXEN. 1995. Cognitive processes in well-


defined and ill-defined problem-solving. Applied Cognitive psychology. 9: 523-
538.

SITOE, A. 2004. Self-regulated learning and learning strategies: Tools for lifelong learning.
In P. Boele van Hensbroek, & H. Schoenmakers (Eds.), from social exclusion to
lifelong learning in Southern Africa. CDS Research Report Nr. 21 (pp.51-64).

SOLOMON, J., J. DUVEEN & L. SCOTT, 1994. Pupils’ images of scientific


epistemology. International Journal of Science Education, 16(3), 361-373.

SONGER, N. B., & M. C. LINN, 1991. How do students’ views of science influence
knowledge integration? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28, 761-784.

STERNBERG, R. J. & D. G. GRIGORENKO. 1997. Thinking Styles. Cambridge, U. K.;


NY, NY: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on August 2007 from:
155

Http://www.ascd.org/educationnews/eric/miabs.html

STERNBERG, R. J. 1997. Talking About Leaving: Factors Contributing to High Attrition


Rates Among Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Undergraduate Majors.
Boulder, CO: Bureau of Sociological Research.

TANNER, K., L. S. CHATMAN & D. ALLEN. 2003. Approaches to Cell Biology


Teaching: Cooperative Learning in the Science Classroom—Beyond Students
Working in Groups. The American Society for Cell Biology. Cell Biol Educ. 2003
Spring; 2: 1–5.

TENG, X. 2003. Ethnic groups, cultural diversities and diversification of school curriculum.
Jiangsu Social Science, 3: 24-29.

TEO, S. 2002. Preferred learning styles and perception of learning in group work
assessment. UTS Teaching and Learning Forum. Singapore

TRAUTWEIN, U. & O. LUDTKE. 2007. Epistemological beliefs, school achievement, and


college major: A large scale longitudinal study on the impact of certainty beliefs.
Contemporary Educational Psychology, 32, 348-366.

TRIGWELL, K. & M. PROSSER. 1991. Improving the quality of student learning: the
influence of learning context and student approaches to learning on learning
outcomes. Higher Education, 22, 251-266.

TSAI, C. C. & S. C. CHUANG. 2005. The correlation between epistemological beliefs and
preferences toward Internet-based learning environments. British Journal of
Educational Technology, 36(1), 97-100.

TSAI, C. C. 1998b. An analysis of Taiwanese eight graders’ science achievement, scientific


epistemological beliefs and cognitive structure outcomes after learning basic
atomic theory. International Journal of Science Education, 20, 413-425.
156

TSAI, C. C. 2000a. The effects of STS-oriented instruction on female tenth graders’


cognitive structure outcomes and the role of student scientific epistemological
beliefs. International Journal of Science Education, 22, 1029-1115.

VELASQUEZ, J. V. 2007. Teaching and Learning Styles and Academic Performance of


High School Students in Mathematics, English and Science and Technology.
Unpublished masteral thesis. CLSU IGS, Science City of Muñoz.

WALKER, J. & C. SMREKAR. 2001. Parenting - High-risk Neighborhoods, influence of


parents' level of education, influence on child's educational aspirations and
attainment. Psychological Bulletin 113:487–496.

WEITEN, W. 1998. Pressure, major life events, and psychological symptoms. Journal of
Social Behavior and Personality, 13, 51-64.

WITKIN, H., G. MOORE, D. GOODENOUGH & P. COX, 1977. Field-dependent and


field- independent cognitive styles and their educational implications. Review of
Educational Research. 47: 1 – 64.

WOOD, P. K., & C. A. KARDASH, 2002. Critical elements in the design and analysis of
studies of epistemology. In B K. Hofer & Paul R. Pintrich (Eds.), Personal
epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing (pp. 231–
260). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

ZHU, Y. 2003. The cultural causation of the differences of the urban and rural economy
development of China. Exploring. 3: 24-32.
157

APPENDICES
158

APPENDIX A – Sample Questionnaire

Republic of the Philippines


CENTRAL LUZON STATE UNIVERSITY
Science City of Munoz

INSTITUTE OF GRADUATE STUDIES

Epistemological Beliefs, Learning Styles and Academic Performance of Biology Students in


Five High Schools of Central Luzon State University

General Direction: Please supply the information needed by putting a mark on the box or
write down your answers wherever feasible.

Name: ____________________(optional) Year and Section_______ Code No. ______

Part I. SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS

Direction: Please supply the needed information by putting a check mark in the space
provided before each statement or write down your answer(s) on the blank after each
statement.
Age _________ Final grade in biology ______
Gender ( ) male ( ) female School Location ( ) rural ( ) urban
ICT Accessibility ( ) accessible Family Income: ___________________
( ) non-accessible
Parents’ Educational Background
Father: ( ) elementary graduate Mother: ( ) elementary graduate
( ) high school graduate ( ) high school graduate
( ) college graduate ( ) college graduate
( ) college graduate with ( ) college graduate with
MA/MS units MA/MS units
( ) MS/MA graduate ( ) MS/MA graduate
( ) with Ph.D./EdD. units ( ) Ph.D./EdD. units
( ) Ph.D/Ed.D. graduate ( ) Ph.D/Ed.D. graduate

Mothers’ Occupation Fathers’ Occupation

( ) farmer ( ) farmer
( ) driver ( ) driver
( ) construction worker ( ) construction worker
( ) Overseas Filipino Worker ( ) Overseas Filipino Worker
( ) nurse ( ) nurse
( ) teacher ( ) teacher
159

( ) others please specify ( ) others please specify


______________________ ______________________

Part II. EPISTEMIC BELIEF INVENTORY

Please indicate your level of agreement or disagreement to the following statements. If you
strongly agree, for example, write the number 5 in the blank provided on the left.

strongly moderately undecided moderately agree strongly agree


disagree disagree
1 2 3 4 5

________1. It bothers me when biology teachers don't tell students the answers to
complicated biology problems.

________2. Truth in Biology means different things to different people.

________3. Students who learn things quickly in biology are the most successful.

________4. Students should always obey the law inside biology classroom.

________5. Some students in biology will never be smart no matter how hard they work.

________6. Absolute moral truth does not exist in biology.

________7. Teachers should teach their students all there is to know about biology.

________8. Really smart students don't have to work as hard to do well in biology.

________9. If a student tries too hard to understand a problem in biology, he will most likely
end up being confused.

________10. Too many theories in biology just complicate things.

________11. The best ideas in biology are often the simplest ones.

________12. Students can't do too much about how smart they are in biology.
160

________13. Biology teachers should focus on facts instead of theories.

________14. I like biology teachers who present several competing theories and let their
students decide which is best.
________15. How well you do in biology depends on how smart you are.

________16. In biology, if you don't learn something quickly, you won't ever learn it.

________17. Some students in biology class just have a knack for learning and others don't.

________18. Some biology concepts are simpler than most biology teachers would have you
believe.

________19. If two students are arguing about something in a biology class, at least one of
them must be wrong.

________20. In a biology class, students should be allowed to question their teachers'


authority.

________21. If you haven't understood a lesson in biology the first time through, going back
over it won't help.

________22. Biology is easy to understand because it contains so many facts.

________ 23. The moral rules in Biology I live by apply to everyone in the class.

________ 24. In biology, the more you know about a topic, the more there is to know.

________ 25. What is true today in biology will be true tomorrow.

________ 26. Smart students in biology are born that way.

________ 27. When a biology teacher tells me what to do, I usually do it.

________ 28. Students who question biology teachers are trouble makers.

________ 29. Working on a problem in biology with no quick solution is a waste of time.
161

________ 30. You can study biology concepts for years and still not really understand them.

________ 31. Sometimes there are no right answers to biology's big problems.

________32. Some students are born with special gifts and talents in biology.
Part III. LEARNING STYLES

Direction: The following questionnaire has been designed to help you clarify your
attitudes and feelings toward learning in high school. There is no right or wrong answer to
each question. However, as you answer each question, form your answer with regard to your
personal attitudes and feelings towards Science subject.
Please respond to the items listed below by putting a check mark under the following
scale:
Use a rating scale 1, if you strongly disagree with the statement.
Use a rating scale 2, if you moderately disagree with the statement.
Use a rating scale 3, if you are undecided with the statement.
Use a rating scale 4, if you moderately agree with the statement.
Use a rating scale 5, if you strongly agree with the statement.

Statement 1 2 3 4 5
1. I prefer to work by myself on assignments in my
Biology class.
2. I often daydream during Biology class.
3. Working with other students on class activities is
something I enjoy doing in my Biology class.
4. I want my Biology teacher to state exactly what he
expects from the students.
5. To do well, it is necessary to compete with other
students for my Biology teacher’s attention.
6. I do whatever is asked of me to learn in my Biology
class.
7. My ideas about Biology lessons often are as good as
those in the textbook.
8. Classroom activities in Biology are usually boring.
9. I enjoy discussing my ideas about Biology with other
students.
10. I rely on my Biology teacher to tell me what is
important for me to learn.
11. It is necessary to compete with other students to get a
good grade in Biology class.
12. I find that Biology class is worth attending.
13. I study what is important to me and not always what
162

my Biology teacher says is important.


14. I very seldom am excited about material covered in
Biology.
15. I enjoy hearing what other students think about
issues raised in Biology class.
16. I want clear and detailed instructions in Biology on
how to complete assignments.
17. In Biology class, I must compete with other students
to get my ideas across.
18. I get more out of going to Biology class than staying
at home.
19. I learn a lot of Biology on my own.
20. I don't want to attend my Biology class.
21. Students should be encouraged to share more of their
ideas with each other in Biology class.
22. I complete assignments in Biology exactly the way
my Biology teacher tells me to do them.
23. Students have to be aggressive to do well in Biology
class.
24. It is my responsibility to get as much as I can out of
my Biology class.
25. I feel very confident about my ability to learn on my
own in Biology.
26. Paying attention during Biology class is difficult for
me to do.
27. I like to study for tests in Biology with other
students.
28. Trying to decide what to study or how to do
assignments in Biology makes me uncomfortable.
29. I like to solve problems or answer questions in
Biology before anybody else can.
30. Classroom activities in Biology class are interesting.
31. I like to develop my own ideas about Biology lesson.
32. I have given up trying to learn anything from going
to Biology class.
33. Biology classes make me feel like part of a team
where people help each other learn.
34. Students should be more closely supervised by
Biology teachers in doing Biology projects.
35. To get ahead in Biology class, it is necessary to step
on the toes of other students.
36. I try to participate as much as I can in all activities in
Biology.
37. I have my own ideas about how Biology classes
163

should be run.
38. I study just hard enough to get by in Biology.
39. An important part of studying Biology is learning to
get along with other people.
40. My notes contain almost everything the teacher said
in my Biology class.
41. Being one of the best students in my Biology class is
very important to me.
42. I do all assignments in Biology well whether or not I
think they are interesting.
43. If I like a topic in Biology, I try to find out more
about it on my own.
44. I typically cram for exams in Biology.
45. Learning the lessons in Biology is a cooperative
effort between students and teachers.
46. I prefer Biology lessons that are highly organized.
47. To stand out in my Biology class, I complete
assignments better than other students.
48. I typically complete assignments in Biology before
their deadlines.
49. I prefer to work on class projects and assignments in
Biology by myself.
50. I would prefer that my Biology teacher ignores me in
class.
51. I am willing to help other students out when they do
not understand something in Biology.
52. Students should be told exactly what topics are to be
covered on Biology exams.
53. I like to know how well other students are doing on
exams and assignments in Biology.
54. I complete required assignments in Biology as well
as those that are optional.
55. When I don't understand something in Biology, I first
try to figure it out for myself.
56. During Biology class, I tend to socialize with people
sitting next to me.
57. I enjoy participating in small group activities during
Biology class.
58. I want Biology teachers to have outlines or notes on
the board.
59. I want my Biology teacher to give me more
recognition for the good work I do.
60. In my Biology class, I often sit toward the front of
the room.
164
165

APPENDIX B – Letter to the Principal

Republic of the Philippines


CENTRAL LUZON STATE UNIVERSITY
Science City of Muñoz Nueva Ecija

INSTITUTE OF GRADUATE STUDIES

14 June 2010

Prof. MA. ROSIE S. MANANGAN


School Principal, ULHS-Palusapis
Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija

Madam:

The undersigned is a Master of Science in Biology Education student at the Institute


of Graduate Studies in Central Luzon State University. He is due to conduct his research this
coming school year entitled, Epistemological Beliefs, Learning Styles and Academic
Performance of Biology Students in Five High Schools of Central Luzon State University as
partial fulfillment of the requirements for masteral degree.

Relative to this, he would like to humbly request your office to allow him to distribute
the survey questionnaires to the sophomore students in your school for SY 2009-2010. Rest
assured that the information gathered will be kept confidential

Thank you and more power!

Sincerely yours,

JOHN PAUL E. SANTOS


Researcher

Noted:
166

EDEN S. DAVID, Ph.D.


Thesis Adviser
167

APPENDIX C – Sample of student’s permanent record


168

APPENDIX D – Epistemological Beliefs and Learning Styles


Profiles of respondents

Appendix Table 1. Epistemological beliefs held by the sophomore high school students
in Biology
Frequency Percentage
Epistemological Belief
(N=147) %
Emergent 128 87.1
Naive 17 11.6
Sophisticated 2 1.4

Appendix Table 2. Learning styles of sophomore high school students


Frequency Percentage
Learning Styles
(N = 147) %
Independent 12 8.2
Avoidant 8 5.4
Collaborative 49 33.3
Dependent 31 21.1
Competitive 10 6.8
Participant 37 25.2

Learning High Moderate Low Descriptive


Mean
Style f % f % f % classification
10.
38 25.9 94 63.9 15 3.47 Moderate
Independent 2
10
42 28.6 68.7 4 2.7 2.92 Moderate
Avoidant 1
12
83.0 18 12.2 7 4.8 3.89 High
Collaborative 2
Dependent 49 33.3 90 61.2 8 5.4 3.77 Moderate
13 - -
89.1 16 10.9 3.52 High
Competitive 1
Participant 48 32.7 89 60.5 10 6.8 3.82 Moderate

Appendix Table 3. Learning Style in High, Moderate and Low


169

Appendix Table 4. Learning Style with their Mean, SD, Description and Rank

APPENDIX E - Tabular data of Respondents’ Socio-demographic characteristics Appendix

Table 5. Respondents’ Socio-demographic characteristics

Descriptive %
Learning Style Mean SD Rank
classification (High + Mod)
Independent 3.47 0.55 Moderate 89.8 6
Avoidant 2.92 0.60 Moderate 97.3 2
Collaborative 3.89 0.57 High 95.2 3
Dependent 3.77 0.53 Moderate 94.5 4
Competitive 3.52 0.52 High 100 1
Participant 3.82 0.58 Moderate 93.2 5
170

Frequency Percentage
Characteristics
(N = 147) %
Age
13 15 10.2
14 102 69.4
15 29 19.7
18 1 0.7
Mean 14.12
Std. Deviation 0.63
Range 13 – 18
Gender
Female 77 52.4
Male 70 47.6
School location
Rural 88 59.9
Urban 59 40.1
ICT Accessibility
Accessible 106 72.1
Non-accessible 41 27.9
Father’s educational attainment
Elementary level 10 6.8
High school level 57 38.8
College level 55 37.4
Graduate level 20 13.6
Vocational 5 3.4
Mother’s educational attainment
Elementary level 9 6.1
High school level 51 34.7
College level 64 43.5
Graduate level 22 15.0
Vocational 1 0.7
Father’s occupation
Blue collar job 106 72.1
White collar job 39 26.5
Non-earning 2 1.4
Mother’s occupation
Blue collar job 42 28.6
White collar job 40 27.2
Non-earning 65 44.2
Family income
Low family income 103 70.1
High family income 44 29.9
Mean 25957.82
Std. Deviation 45551.93
Range 4,000 – 500,000
GPA
High academic performance (at least 88) 25 17.0
Average academic performance (80 – 87) 108 73.4
Low academic performance (below 80) 14 9.6

Mean 83.76
Std. Deviation 3.870
Range 75 - 93