Am I as smart as I think I am?: A study of the relationship among metacognition, academic skills, and academic achievement of college freshmen

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1991-05

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Abstract

This study investigated the relationships among metacognition, academic skills (In reading and writing), and academic achievement for college freshmen. Metacognition, defined as Introspective knowledge including person-, task-, and strategy-specific Information about cognitive states and their operation or "knowing about knowing" (Brown, 1978), has been found to be a characteristic of cognitive efficiency and effectiveness; moreover, developmental differences in metacognltive knowledge have been identified with the research literature indicating that immature or mentally-Impaired learners fail at cognitive tasks, not because they lack the ability to perform basic mental calculations, but because they lack metacognltive knowledge. Developmental theorists also have identified metacognltive knowledge as an Important factor In adult cognitive behavior. A pen-and-paper Instrument to measure metacognltive knowledge pertinent to college was developed and administered to 134 college freshmen; these freshmen also had taken the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) test, and their semester grade point averages (GPAs) were collected. As predicted, there was a significant relationship between students' introspective knowledge about their own skills and their GPA; for the 13-item Likert-scale measure of general person-, task-, and strategy-knowledge, the relationship with GPA was not significant. Although introspective knowledge about skills was weakly related to achievement. Introspective knowledge was not as strong a predictor of grades as were academic skills (TASP scores in reading and writing) or age. However, Introspective knowledge about skills was a significant determinant of grades, independent of age. Support was not found for the hypotheses that academically-skilled students would have greater metacognltive knowledge than would academically-unskilled students or that older students would have greater metacognltive knowledge than younger students. Age was found to be predictive of achievement. Results are discussed, and recommendations for future research are presented.

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Keywords

College freshmen, Academic achievement, Metacognition

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