Date of Conferral

2008

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Stephanie Helms

Abstract

Minority college students have varied learning styles and process information from distinct background and cultural perspectives, which influences their learning. Accordingly, the way faculty approach teaching affects student achievement. Few minorities are in scientific fields, with a shortage of scientists predicted. A problem exists in understanding the relationship between learning style preferences and achievement of minority college students. The purpose of the study was to investigate this relationship in adult minority students in a South Florida college's biology courses. Research questions pertained to relationships between learning style preferences, race, ethnicity and grades. This quantitative study used the online Felder-Soloman Inventory of Learning Styles with a 73% response comprised of 162 White, Black-African American, Hispanic, and Asian students. Variables included grades, race, ethnicity, and learning styles. Relative frequency analysis revealed students preferred sensing, visual and sequential learning. ANOVA analysis showed no significant differences between learning style preference and achievement, nor between race-ethnicity and grades. Chi-square analysis revealed a significant relationship between Black-African Americans and Hispanics for sensing, visual and sequential learning, but not for visual. Black-African American students had the lowest passing rate in biology courses, with Asians having the highest. Increased educator and advisor knowledge of learning styles could result in social change and educational reform from this study, through the adoption of best methods for teaching minority groups enrolled in science courses. Knowing the potential shortage of minorities in the sciences, increased achievement in science courses might encourage these students to enter into scientific careers.