How Physical Chemistry Students use Metacognition to be Successful in Class

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Sarah B. Boesdorfer

Mentor Department



Isabel Green

Co-Mentor Department



Metacognition is the awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes. Implementation of effective metacognitive strategies is recognized as a useful technique in classroom teaching. Students who recognize and assess their weaknesses correctly can improve their learning. Teachers are encouraged to promote metacognition in class at all age levels by asking questions, such as "which one of the homework or exam questions was the hardest for you?". Over a semester, physical chemistry students were asked metacognitive questions at the end of every homework assignment and exam. We analyzed the students' answers to these questions from the homework and correlated them with their homework and exam results. We assessed the students' identified struggles in the homework, and if then, during the exam the student still struggled, improved, or learned the topic. Also, from the exam metacognitive questions, we evaluated the students' level of metacognition for their exam performance. Our goal was to see if students accurately recognize their weaknesses or not, and if it helped them successfully learn course materials. Based on the results, we discuss the impacts that metacognition has on the students' success in the classroom and how it can be improved to enhance student learning.


Aiello-undergraduate, Jin-undergraduate

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