Rationale Every person has its own uniqueness making everyone different from each other which means that in everything people do, they vary from each other. For the students, they learn in different ways as well as their capability to acquire knowledge. This situation refers to as “learning styles” which is defined as “the concept that individuals differ in regard to what mode of instruction or study is most effective for them” (Pashler, et. al. , 2008, p. 105).
This is similar to the students’ preference on his/her way of learning in a particular area. Various learning styles have been used by many students as their approach to attain information and to process this to learn. One model of learning styles is the Fleming’s VAK Model which is sometimes known as the VARK model. In an article published by Gable (2010) written by a writer named “nlee31”, the Fleming’s VAK Model was presented; the visual learning style (V), the auditory learning style (A) and the kinesthetic learning style.
The visual learners are skillful at looking charts, graphs or any instructional visual material and they can apply it to their school projects. Auditory learners are skilled through listening with good memory and use of information. Lastly, kinesthetic learners learn best through application. Learning styles is known as a validation to determine that students perform in class and achieve something in different manners. As to their academic performance, these learning styles were used in all the subject areas. The students learn in a variety of way as a result of the teachers’ style of conveying information.
Because of this, the students also have different performance in their academics such as in mathematics for example as to the use the Fleming’s VAK model, it was posted on the VARK official website by Neil Fleming (2010) that when the VAK questionnaire is used, it will result to a great difference across the different disciplines. Mathematics is only one of the subject areas that students take up in college. During the tertiary level, most students find learning this area as the most difficult part. Difficulty may result to inattentiveness and poor performance of students in a class may occur.
Learning styles in Mathematics can be different among students. It is very important that a student is aware of his/her learning style such that he/she will be able to assess himself/herself in an environment of different learners. In a study of Al-Balhan (2010) entitled “Learning Styles in Relation to Academic Performance in Middle School Mathematics”, the results show that students in the experimental group whose learning styles were accommodated performed better than the students in the control group who studied using the traditional method.
Finding college students having difficulties in learning mathematics is a challenge for the instructors to develop teaching strategies which is creative and innovative. The instructors’ knowledge of their students’ learning styles will serve as the general guide for them to have revisions and vary the activities to be given to the students.
Also, Munshin and Huentick (2008) emphasized “The foundational belief in attention to learning styles is that if teachers understand their preferred learning styles and those of their students, they will be able to adjust their curriculum and teaching methods to accommodate students with different learning styles. ” The effort of meeting the needs of the students according to their learning styles may eventually leads to the development of the course in College Algebra; thus, determining the students’ learning style is a very important part of this. Blackmore (1996) in Diaz and Cartnal (1999, p. 30-135) suggested that one thing an educator can do to assist the learning process is to be simply aware that there are diverse learning styles in the student population. Just like the other studies relating learning styles and academic performance, this study specified only one subject area, College Algebra. At Saint Mary’s University, College Algebra is one of the courses where all students have gone through. As compared to other researches, this study will only focus in College Algebra. It would like to determine the dominant learning style present among the Education freshmen as related to their College Algebra performance.
If the students would be accommodated properly, especially those who performed least, they would increase their mathematical ability in studying Algebra. Also, the generated new teaching style of the instructors may help the future students and so to excel much better than before. The connection between the present and the future Education freshmen is that they both have taken the same subject as the College Algebra is a brief review of High School Algebra (e. g. Elementary Algebra as stressed out in the Modern College Algebra Textbook by Mrs. Adelina C. Erfe, pg. v).
Hence, this reason serves as the motivator for the researchers to conduct this study: “Title”. Statement of the Problem This study was designed to determine the relationship between the learning styles of the freshmen Education students of Saint Mary’s University and their College Algebra performance measured in their final grade during the first semester of the academic year 2010-2011. Specifically, the study sought to answer the following question: 1. What is the profile of the respondents in terms of their: a. final grade in College Algebra; b. and learning styles of the respondents? . How are the learning styles of the respondents distributed when classified according to their final grade in College Algebra? 3. Is there a significant relationship between the learning styles of the respondents and their final grade in College Algebra? Statement of Null Hypothesis This statement is to be tested at a 0. 05 level of significance: 1. There is no significant difference between the learning style of the respondents and their final grade in College Algebra. Significance of the Study This study may be beneficial to the following: 1. College Algebra Instructors
Results of this study may generate ideas for the College Algebra Instructors to provide the correct teaching styles that can accommodate the students’ learning styles. This matching of their styles will make a learning environment which produces students with Mathematics competence. Also, the instructors’ can have that teaching that they will be using whenever, most probable, some students may be under them in the future. 2. Future College Algebra Students of School of Education Learning of College Algebra by future freshmen students of School of Education will be much easier than before.
The students may respond accordingly as their learning styles will be accommodated. 3. Education Students Having probability that some of these students, especially the Mathematics majors, will be under the same instructor again, they will be, at least, taught properly just like the future Education freshmen students. Scope and Delimitation This study is to determine the relationship of the learning styles of the 60 Education freshmen students of Saint Mary’s University to their College Algebra final grade for the first semester of the academic year 2010-2011.
The study will only classify and relate the students’ learning styles and College Algebra final grade. Used teaching style of their former instructors will not be studied to relate with the two variables mentioned above. Also, the study will not include the interpretation on the relationship of the respondents to the future Education freshmen. Definition of Terms The following words in this study were defined for clarity and common understanding: 1. Relationship – the study defines this as a connection or association between the two variables if the students’ learning styles have an effect on their performance in College Algebra. . Learning Styles – the study defines this as the students’ way of acquiring information, interacting with the instructors and participating in class. 3. Respondents – the study defines this to refer to the current freshmen students of the School of Education who have taken and finished College Algebra. 4. College Algebra Performance – the study defines this as the respondents’ final grade in College Algebra. 5. College Algebra – this is a course taken by all freshmen (Engineering Algebra for the Engineering freshmen) which is closely related to secondary Algebra. 6.
Teaching Styles – the study defines this as the methods, strategies and approaches of the instructors to convey information to their students. 7. Visual Learning Style – the study defines this as the learning style of students which is more on to seen or observed things such as graphs and diagrams. 8. Auditory Learning Style – the study defines this as the learning style of students which is more on to listening information such as listening to spoken words. 9. Kinesthetic Learning Style – the study defines this as the learning style of students which is more on to physical experiences such as practical type of lectures.