Increasing the metacognitive awareness of high school students
Research has shown that many high school students are not prepared for college and/or the work force because they have not learned how to learn. Students who are unaware of the metacognitive process are usually underachievers who have lower academic goals, and are less accurate in assessing their own abilities. While metacognition is a learning strategy that has been shown to increase learning, comprehension, attention, motivation, and memory, it continues to be a missing component in today’s classrooms. In order to determine if metacognitive awareness – as measured by the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) – could be increased, a quasi-experimental study was conducted to determine the effects of teaching a process-oriented metacognitive strategy to students at a public high school located in Massachusetts. The sample population consisted of 68 students in all four grade levels, with 32 in the control group, and 36 in the treatment group. The results of the study showed that less than half of the sample population initially reported being familiar with metacognition, and that there were no significant differences in metacognitve awareness between the four grade levels. It was also found that metacognitive awareness could be increased by providing direct instruction followed by exercises in the utilization of the strategy. These findings were consistent with the research that has shown metacognitive skills can be taught through carefully designed instructional activities.