Relationship Between Learning Styles Gender and Mathematics Scores Literature Review

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Relationship between Learning Styles, Gender, and Mathematics Scores

Learning is one of the most significant backgrounds in research today and at the same time one of the most complex concepts to portray. A learner who enters the learning environment possesses a set of characteristics that are his fundamentals for learning. These characteristics are called his input behaviors. These characteristics have a cognitive aspect as well as an emotional and a psycho-motor aspect. Emotional characteristics show the motivation for learning or interest for the lesson. Characteristics such as self-concept, self-confidence, preservation, precision, and self-efficacy belief are thought to be emotional input behaviors. One of the influential elements on one's mental worth and his emotional characteristics is how he judges himself and his efficiency level. The concept that is titled self-efficacy refers to feeling of competency, sufficiency, and capability to deal with life. The fulfillment and keeping of the functionality standards will increase the level of self-efficacy and the inability to fulfill and keep the standards will reduce it. People who possess higher self-efficacy belief show more effort and resistance for completing tasks and therefore have better and more effective task-fulfillment compared with individuals who have weak self-efficacy (Ali Khaksar Boldaji, n.d.).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Literature Review on Relationship Between Learning Styles Gender and Mathematics Scores Assignment

The difference of the individuality of students can be shown by the diversity of their test scores. When most students start school, their test scores are similar but their experiences are diverse. As ones formal education progresses, most students in a specific classroom are taught in the style that is most well-suited to that teacher. Just as each student has different kinds of knowledge from their experience, so does each student have information in a different way to complete the learning cycle. "As a result of the students' hereditary factors, their particular life experiences and the demands of their environment, students develop learning styles that emphasize certain learning abilities over others" (Kopsovich, 2001).

A learning style is a person's favored method for perceiving and transforming their learning experiences. It is the internal goals and specific needs that shape how an individual approaches learning, resulting in a dominant learning style (Wehrwein, Lujan & DiCarlo, 2007). The alignment of the dominant learning styles of the individual with the teaching styles of the instructor has strong implications for academic success. In fact, one of the main factors considered when deciding on an academic major is the cohesion and compatibility of the norms of the major and learning styles (Kulturel-Konak, D'Allegro & Dickinson, 2011).

Learning Styles and Math Scores

A lack of appreciative of the testing process creates the teach to the test phenomenon. Because of state mandated testing for math achievement and not teaching mathematical concepts and reasoning by utilizing scientific constructivism theory or understanding how student's learn, many U.S. students are not as triumphant as other countries. How students learn, as well as the spirit of learning mathematics must be combined and examined by way of current research to increase student's performance on standardized mathematical testing (Bell, 1989). The odds for success in the classroom increase when students and teachers comprehend how people differ in their advances to learning tasks and then use that understanding to produce strategies for learning (Kopsovich, 2001). In a study done about relationships among class instructional schedules, learning style preferences, and grade level, and their effect on mathematics achievement test scores of third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, it was fond that class instructional schedules coordinated with individual learning preferences were the most important factors accountable for increasing achievement test scores in mathematics. In this study Dunn, Dunn, and Price's concept of learning style was used as the theoretical framework. The researchers used the Learning Style Inventory (LSI) (1975, 1978, 1981) in order to establish the profile of individual preferences. "This research: substantiated which of the 286 subjects were either matched or mismatched for learning preference and instructional schedule during each of two consecutive years of study; and assessed whether individually or interactively, the three independent variables, learning preference, class instructional schedules for each of two years, and grade level, significantly affected the two dependent variables" (Prashnig, n.d.).

Data were examined using three-way analysis of variance procedures with one recurring measure. For all data examination procedures, hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of confidence. The findings showed that students whose learning preferences and class schedules were harmonious, achieved considerably higher test scores; and when learning preferences and class schedules were inharmonious, lower scores were achieved (Prashnig, n.d.).

Gender and Math Scores

Most research has suggested that preferred learning styles of males and females can in general be dispersed equally among the four learning modes; however, there is substantial evidence suggesting an inconsistency between male and female scores in the abstract concrete dimension of learning. Studies have suggested that females score higher in the concrete learning mode whereas males score higher on the abstract conceptualization side of the continuum. Women with a concrete experience learning approach usually prefer hands-on experiences to learning they make intuitive or feeling-based judgments, they are people oriented, and they typically feel comfortable with ambiguity. They excel at understanding people, identifying problems, brainstorming, imagining, taking risks, leading, and getting work done. On the other hand, men who prefer abstract conceptualization take an analytic approach to learning, they think logically and rationally, they enjoy working with symbols and like structure (Kulturel-Konak, D'Allegro & Dickinson, 2011).

Alumran (2008), in a study of Bahraini university students, found that there were significant differences in learning style according to gender and different fields of study. Sax (2005) provides a biological explanation for this gender-based difference; males tend to process spatial relations which are key to understanding math, especially geometry in the hippocampus, whereas females process this information in the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is the same division of the brain that mediates language and higher cognitive functions (Sax, 2005). Therefore, females need to form connections in their brains to sustain their understanding. The easiest way for females to form these connections is to see the math applied to the real world.

Research supports that when introducing concepts in a math class, a teacher needs to use two different approaches; one for males and one for females. Sax (2005) suggests that when introducing a sequence to boys, it is more advantageous to appeal to their innate interest in math by challenging the boys to find patterns within the sequence itself whereas, when introducing the same concept to girls, it is more beneficial to make the math more applicable to a real-life scenario. One way to ground this sequence in reality is by having the girls count the number of petals on daisies, the number of rows on artichokes or sunflowers, or measure the spiral of a nebula (Sax, 2005).

Orhun (2007), in a study of Turkish university students, found that there were dissimilarities among learning styles preferred by female and male students, their mathematical achievements, and their approaches towards mathematics. These findings support the idea that matching learning styles with teaching styles results in higher student performance. Learning styles also have a strong association to gender differences. Males in the study tended to prefer the Assimilator learning style; these individuals learned best when presented with lectures and demonstrations (Orhun, 2007). Females in the study were found to learn best using the Converger learning style; these individuals prefer to make choices and solve problems independently using factual data (Orhun, 2007). Despite the preference of different learning styles, there was no gender-based performance gap found in this study.


There is a large body of literature that discusses gender differences in learning, and provides a comprehensive review of gender differences, learning styles and mathematics achievement. It has been found that a gender-based preference in learning style is only one part in which males and females are distinctive. It has been established that males have a partiality for rational assessment and reason, whereas females use elaborative dispensation in which they tend to seek individual significance or personal associations with the subject matter being taught. Additionally, males tend to be more achievement oriented, while females are more socially and performance based. The genders also vary in their beliefs about what is most significant to student learning, with females ranking social relations with other students and self-confidence as superior than males. In addition, males are likely to attribute their success in the classroom to outside causes, such as teaching, whereas females normally see their success are being directly connected to their efforts in the classroom. This advocates that males tend to be more outwardly focused, but females tend to be more introspective and self-critical.

Although all human beings have the ability to learn, however, the level and style of learning among individuals is different, even in equal circumstances. Learning styles have different formats and can be categorized into three groups: cognitive styles, emotional styles, and physiologic styles. The results of previously conducted research in regards to learning styles show that the various learning styles and gender are related to achievement in math.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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