Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education


Educational Psychology, Ed.D.

First Advisor

Donna J. Habenicht

Second Advisor

Paul S. Brantley

Third Advisor

W.G.A. Futcher


Problem. The relationship between race and hemispheric performance and the resultant effects of this relationship on learning pose a problem for educators. This study sought to determine whether Black students have a style of cerebral processing different from Caucasian students and whether this cognitive style leads to under achievement in certain subject areas.

Method. The Cognitive Laterality Battery (CLB) was used to measure hemisphericity for 111 fourth- and fifth-grade students categorized into four groups: Blacks, Caucasians, males and females. Ninety-seven of these students comprised the population for this study. The results from the CLB were then used to determine whether there was a significant relationship between hemispheric performance and achievement in reading as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). Four groups of null hypotheses were tested using Chi-square analysis and three-way Analysis of Variance.

Findings. (1) There were no statistically significant differences in the proportion of students (Blacks/Caucasian, males/females) with a right (visuospatial) or left (verbo-sequential) mode of hemispheric processing. (2) There were no statistically significant main effects forrace, sex, and hemisphericity for achievement on the vocabulary or comprehension subtests for fourth and fifth graders. (3) There were no significant relationships between hemisphericity and achievement levels on either the vocabulary or comprehension subtest of the ITBS for fourth- and fifth-grade males and females. However, when the Pearson Product-Moment Correlation was applied to the individual CLB subtests and the ITBS subtests, several statistically significant correlations were observed for all four groups.

Conclusions. Neither race, sex, nor laterality seems to be a significant factor in reading achievement. Regardless of hemispheric performance, as measured by the Cognitive Laterality Battery, achievement on the vocabulary and comprehension subtest of the ITBS was not significantly affected. The nonsignificant results may be due to small sample size.

On the individual subtests of the CLB, there were significant relationships between several of the individual subtests and reading comprehension for fourth graders, and between hemisphericity and comprehension for fifth-grade females. It was concluded that these relationships may have practical significance for classroom teachers in planning and implementing curriculum strategies for improved instruction in reading vocabulary and comprehension.

Subject Area

Reading (Elementary), African Americans--Education--Reading

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