Metacognitive strategies in an earth science classroom
Knochenhauer, Laura Ashley
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The purpose of this research was to determine whether teaching about the levels of thinking along with the intentional inclusion of metacognitive strategies would increase the level of thinking of secondary students in an Earth science course. Of secondary interest was the impact of these practices on the confidence level of students. Students first participated in a non-treatment unit where they were not taught about Bloom's Taxonomy or levels of thinking nor were reflections included in their classroom practice. Students took a pre-unit and post-unit Thinking Test, Thinking Survey, and Confidence Survey during the non-treatment unit to determine the normal gain during a unit of instruction. Following the non-treatment unit, students learned about the levels of thinking through direct instruction and classroom activities. Throughout the unit, students reflected on what they learned, how the learned, and practiced writing high level questions about the content they learned that week. Again, the pre- and post-unit Thinking Test, Thinking Survey, and Confidence survey were administered to determine if the treatment had an effect on students' abilities to think at higher levels. The results indicated that students significantly improved their ability to answer higher level questions following treatment. However, no significant difference was found in student confidence. Therefore, the results of this study indicate that learning about the levels of thinking and implementing metacognitive strategies positively influences students' ability to think at and use higher levels of thinking but does not impact student confidence.