Linking epistemological beliefs to cognitive development and academic performance

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Bird, Mary
Schommer-Aikins, Marlene

The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to determine if there is a relationship between middle school students’ epistemological beliefs and Piagetian stages of cognitive development and (b) if there is a relationship between epistemological beliefs and academic performance. Epistemological beliefs were defined as how individuals come to know and the beliefs they hold about this knowledge. A middle school version of an epistemological beliefs questionnaire was administered in conjunction with a Piagetian assessment of cognitive development to 163 seventh and eighth grade students. Students’ academic performance was measured using the Kansas State Assessment results. Finding showed that there is a relationship between cognitive development and epistemological beliefs. Cognitive development was a predictor in all four domains---math, science, social studies, and reading. Simple knowledge predicted performance in mathematics and social studies, even after accounting for cognitive development. Therefore, epistemological beliefs play a unique role in academic performance

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Thesis (M.Ed.)--Wichita State University, College of Education.
"December 2005."