Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Marie Hill

Committee Members

Terrence Tollefson, Roger Bailey, Nancy Dishner


Asynchronous distance education telecourses are the technological version of traditional correspondence courses. Students in asynchronous telecourses receive videos and printed material but they may not have any contact with the instructor or other students. This study analyzed the academic performance of 154 Southwest Virginia Community College students enrolled in 27 different telecourses during one semester. The purpose of this study was to determine if students' cognitive styles impacted their achievement in distance education courses. Students were given the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) which categorized the students as field dependent or field independent. A field dependent's cognitive style is one that constitutes social activities whereas field independent's have a more self-mediating style, preferring solitary activities. It was hypothesized that field independent students would be more likely to complete asynchronous courses. Chi-square analysis indicated no significant differences in success (grades of A, B, C) or nonsuccess (grades of D, F, I, or W) rate for field independent-dependent students. Although females were significantly more likely to be field dependent, in the total research group and traditional age group, this did not impact their success in distance education courses. The data of this study indicate that achievement rates were not related to the variables of gender, age, or GEFT classification of the students. Future research should expand on this study by analyzing the cognitive style of students who received each of the grades (A, B, C, D, F, I, and W). Longitudinal analysis should track the cognitive styles of students through the completion of a degree.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.