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Developing Abilities and Knowledge: Style in the Interplay of Structure and Process

Messick, Samuel J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
"Education and Human Ability", Cognitive Development, Cognitive Style, Learning Processes


As commentary for a special issue on Education and Human Ability of the British journal Educational Analysis, two recurrent themes in the volume are underscored as well as three critical educational issues that were addressed only peripherally there. The two recurrent themes deal with the roles of knowledge and of context in school learning. The three peripheral issues given central focus in the commentary are (1) the role of schooling in the development of cognitive abilities and of developed abilities in the processes of school learning; (2) the role of cognitive styles as characteristic modes of organization and regulation in information processing which afford unifying self-consistency in learning; and (3) the problem of the match between features of the instruction and functional characteristics of the learner. The commentary thus centers on some of the salient roles in education and learning of knowledge, abilities, context, and style — especially as they merge in the problem of the match. (35pp.)

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