Researching Effects of Metacognitive Exercises

During the fall semester, I hope* to investigate whether metacognitive prompts are associated with differences in students’ exam scores — or, at minimum, whether students report that their learning strategies (a.k.a. study skills) change over time. I plan on collecting data on the following schedule:

  1. Pre-exam survey
  2. Exam 1
  3. Post-exam survey
  4. Pre-exam survey
  5. Exam 2
  6. Post-exam survey
  7. Pre-exam survey
  8. Final exam

The pre-exam survey asks students how frequently they do each of the actions below for the course, on a sale of never, seldom, sometimes, often, or always:

  1. Write notes on main ideas when reading an assigned text for the first time.
  2. Actively participate and pay attention during class.
  3. Write notes during class.
  4. Reorganize notes when not in class.
  5. Periodically review notes when not in class.
  6. Start assignments early instead of waiting until last minute.
  7. Carefully read an assignment’s instructions and rubric before starting it.
  8. Review instructor feedback and assignment rubric after completing an assignment.
  9. Study in an environment that is productive for my learning.
  10. Seek help from others (classmates, friends, instructor, tutor, etc.) if I have questions.

The post-exam survey asks, in questions 1 to 5, how frequently students did each of the actions, on a scale of never, once, a few times, several times, or more than once a day over more than one day. For questions 6 to 8, students are asked to provide a brief answer in their own words:

  1. Studied in an environment that was productive for my learning.
  2. Reviewed the notes I had written.
  3. Reviewed instructor feedback and rubrics on graded assignments.
  4. Studied in intervals over an extended period of time prior to the exam instead of cramming.
  5. Sought help from others (classmates, friends, instructor, tutor, etc.) if I had questions.
  6. Which of your learning strategies helped you prepare the most for the exam? Why?
  7. Which of your learning strategies helped you prepare the least for the exam? Why?
  8. What changes to your learning strategies, if any, do you think you should make? Why?

Students will earn 5 points toward their final grade (on a scale of 1,000 points) for completing each survey, regardless of their responses. Each survey is on the Canvas LMS and will be accessible for a defined time period.

It looks like about twenty-five students at most will be enrolled in this course, so I won’t be able to do a statistical analysis of the data, but maybe I’ll be able to identify some patterns.

*Best laid plans of mice and men often go awry during pandemics.