Metacognitive skills in primary education

Start date: 12 oktober 2009

Annemieke Jacobse


long term/indirect policy relevant


Summary of the project

This research project focuses on the question what the value of metacognitive skills is for mathematics performance of pupils in primary education and how metacognitive skills can be trained and measured effectively. To evaluate the role of metacognitive skills, firstly a descriptive study is performed on the relationship between metacognitive skills, intelligence and performance. This study shows that metacognitive skills have their own predictive value for performance, even (partly) independent of intelligence. This highlights the relevance of research on metacognitive training, especially in conceptually rich domains as mathematics. Hereafter the focus shifts towards experimental studies on the effects of metacognitive training by means of a computer program with metacognitive hints.

Our first study with the computer program with metacognitive hints (published in Educational Research and Evaluation 2009) shows that students in grade 5 working with the computer-program perform significantly better on a mathematical problem-solving test than students in the control group not receiving the extra practice. Moreover, a relationship was found between the use of the metacognitive hints and performance.

Current status of the project

Currently, the next article on an experimental study with the computer supported metacognitive training is under review. The six week experimental study shows that practice with the computer program with metacognitive hints helps students. In the first place, students using the program judge their learning more accurately than students using the same program without metacognitive hints. Secondly, the study indicates that use of the computer program with hints improves their problem solving performance more than just practicing the word problems in the computer program.

Additionally, articles on differential gender effects of metacognitive training and measurement of  metacognitive skills in mathematical problem solving are under preparation.




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