Date of Conferral

1-1-2009

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Stephanie Cawthon

Abstract

According to the Office of Educational Research and Improvement: A Project of the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research, graduation rates for Native Americans from both secondary and post secondary institutions are dismally low at 58% and 7%, respectively. Some research addresses cognitive preference and other ethnic identity, but research animating the cognitive preference---ethnic identity interplay for high school students is absent. These limitations in access to educational opportunities lead to abbreviated quality life experiences and a restriction in individual efficacy and collective agency. The following project assessed ethnic identity using Phinney's Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure and cognitive preference using Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory version 3.1. The research used both the aforementioned metrics to analyze cognitive preference and ethnic identity for 73 high school participants through the use of both categorical and continuous variables. Analytical procedures utilized descriptive statistics, chi-square analysis, bivariate correlation, and analysis of variance. This research confirmed that Anglos and Native Americans have statistically different cognitive preferences, and those preferences were correlated with their ethnic identity. It is recommended that education better meet the needs of the Native American student by emancipating them from an educational system founded and perpetuated on an orientation to the majority's cognitive preference by including multiple information acquisition and processing modalities. Including a range of cognitive preference pedagogies in the classroom will lead to a more equitable educational landscape where the Native American student has the opportunity to be a more successful student.