Methodological difficulties of assessing metacognition: A new approach

Year: 2001

Author: Wilson, Jeni

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Metacognition has been identified as having an important role in many aspects of education, yet specific details about how students use metacognition when they tackle problems is not well researched. Research in the field has spanned three decades, therefore this field would not be considered a new frontier but the assessment of metacognition is.

One of the difficulties associated with researching metacognition is that the term lacks clarity. The research implication is that parametres need to be defined to conduct assessment research. Another problem for researchers interested in metacognition is that techniques used in the research of metacognition, such as, verbal self-reporting are often criticised.

This paper will discuss important methodological difficulties of researching metacognition and propose a viable, new multi-method technique used for assessing student metacognitive behavior. This new multi-method interview technique was used with Year 6 students from three different Victorian schools undertaking a range of non-routine mathematical problems but the results may well be applicable across other age groups and across different curriculum domains.