CERA Metacognition

Name: _________________________________________________________
Metacognition refers to one's awareness of and ability to regulate one's own thinking. Some
everyday examples of metacognition include:
awareness that you have difficulty remembering people's names in social situations
reminding yourself that you should try to remember the name of a person you just
realizing that you know an answer to a question but simply can't recall it at the
realizing that you should review an article you read last week because you have
forgotten many of the key points
realizing that there is something wrong with your solution to a problem
These types of mental events are common for all of us. Metacognition may not seem to be
an especially important skill until you consider how central it is to effective learning. For
example, research demonstrates that good readers monitor their comprehension as they
read and poor readers do not. Specifically, good readers notice when they don't understand
something and then do something about it (e.g., re-read, stop and think it through, take note
that something doesn't make sense and decide to come back to it later, ask a question
about it, etc). Good readers are strategic, and it is metacognitive skill that makes them so.
Weak readers fail to monitor their understanding. Some studies show that weak readers
simply plow through a reading from beginning to end with little recognition of what made
sense and what didn't.
So, metacognition is like an internal guide that notices when your attention wanes, when
your comprehension and memory fail or succeed, when your thinking is faulty, when you
haven't learned something, and so forth. And, the internal guide takes action, whether that
involves refocusing attention, re-reading, mulling over an idea, asking questions, or other
mental moves to deal more effectively with the situation. Metacognition makes you smarter-or at least better able to take advantage of your abilities. Fortunately, students can improve
their metacognitive skills and teachers can help them do so, like the elementary school
teacher who always admonished the class to, "check your work!"
Cognitive psychologist, Steve Chew, uses frequent formative assessment tasks in class to
help students see discrepancies between what they thought they understood and what they
actually understand. Chew also has made a series of short videos to help students become
more strategic in the ways they approach learning.
College instructors are using metacognitive assignments to promote the development of
more sophisticated "self regulated" learning. One interesting technique is something called
an exam wrapper, a post-test assignment in which students analyze their preparation and
performance on an exam and then propose ways to improve their future learning. Introduced
by Marsha Lovett and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University, exam wrappers engage
students in being more self aware about the relationship between their preparation and
performance and acting more strategically as they try to improve their learning in a course.
Name: _________________________________________________________
Please respond to the following questions (in Pen).
PART I Summary
1. In your own words, write a short summary (one or two sentences) of this piece.
PART II Reading Process
2. What kinds of things were happening in your mind as you read this?
3. What did you do that helped you to understand the reading?
4. What questions or problems do you still have with this piece?
PART III Self-Assessment
5. How easy or difficult was this piece for you? (circle one)
pretty easy
not too hard
pretty hard
6. How well would you say you understood this piece?
too hard