Cognitive control styles and learning strategies as discriminant factors among achieving, learning-disabled, and at-risk high school students

Roberta Ann Manfredo, Fordham University


The main purpose of this study was to identify cognitive control styles and learning strategies that would differentiate among three groups of students identified as achievers, learning disabled, and at-risk-for-failure. Ninety 9th and 10th grade high school students were tested using the Cognitive Control Battery (Santostefano, 1988) and The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (Weinstein, 1987). Additional information included the results from the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT) and the Hollingshead Parent Occupation Scale. To meet the objectives of the study, scores on the three tests: Scattered Scanning Test (SST), Fruit Distraction Test (FDT), and the Leveling-Sharpening House Test (LSHT), of the CCB were factor analyzed and reduced to six factors: Attention, Efficiency, Mean Distance, Accuracy, Distractibility, and Leveling-Sharpening. Individual ANOVAs yielded significant differences among the groups on the factors of Attention (SST), Efficiency (SST), Accuracy (FDT), and Leveling-Sharpening (LSHT). Factor analyses conducted on the LASSI subscales did not produce robust results and the subscales were subsequently used individually. Internal reliability was reviewed and proved satisfactory on all subscales. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance produced significant differences among the groups of high school students on the LASSI scales: Motivation, Attitude, Study Aids, Time Management, Concentration, Self-Testing, Information Processing, Selecting Main Ideas, Test Strategies, and Anxiety. Achievers have more developed learning and study strategies than both learning disabled and at-risk students, yet learning disabled students are better on some strategies than at-risk students. A canonical correlation analysis showed no significant linkages between the CCB and the LASSI. A discriminant function analysis yielded two separate discriminating functions. Function 1 (77%): Motivation, CAT scores, Attitude, and Study Aids differentiated achievers from the at-risk students, and Function 2 (23%): Attitude and Motivation differentiated learning disabled from the achievers and at-risk students (23%). Results of group membership analysis indicated that 86.7% of the cases were correctly assigned. It was concluded that: (a) CCB learning styles can identify dimensions of cognitive ability that characterizes the groups; (b) there are specific study and learning strategies that discriminate among the groups; (c) the groups are different on a continuum of traits rather than an absence of traits; (d) there are other factors (i.e., cognitive abilities and socioeconomic status) that contribute to placement in group.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Secondary education|Academic guidance counseling

Recommended Citation

Manfredo, Roberta Ann, "Cognitive control styles and learning strategies as discriminant factors among achieving, learning-disabled, and at-risk high school students" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136329.