The effects of using metacognitive strategies on student understanding of evolutionary concepts

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


The purpose of this action research project was to observe the effects metacognitive strategies had on student learning, long-term memory, motivation, and teacher enthusiasm in a high school Biology classroom during a unit on Evolution. A three-week unit including the history of evolution, steps of natural selection, and evidence supporting the theory was used as the nontreatment unit and taught using regular teaching strategies. This was followed by a three-week treatment unit covering genetic variation, distribution, and speciation, and included metacognitive strategies like reflection journaling, QUAD notes, and peer justification. Data was collected using preunit and postunit assessments, student reflection journals, surveys, interviews, and teacher reflections. While the intervention seemed to have little or no effect on student understanding, student attitude, and teacher enthusiasm, it did improve student retention of concepts over time. It would seem that the use of metacognitive strategies led to a longer, more durable learning experience.




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