Monday, March 1 • 2:50pm - 3:05pm
Talk Session 2: Undergraduate development of metacognition and conceptual understanding

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The biological field is increasingly interdisciplinary and requires students to build individual concepts into complex understanding. It is important to understand how best to support students in this process and provide them with the tools necessary to succeed. One way for students to consider their own understanding, and determine what steps to take next, is by engaging in metacognition. Students engaging in metacognition have better learning outcomes, and past work has shown students can be supported to become more metacognitive. However, development of more advanced and targeted supports depends on a greater understanding of how metacognition develops as students learn increasingly complex material. In the current study, we examined students’ development of metacognition and conceptual understanding from their first introductory biology course through each of the five required core courses for the biology major. Data collection consisted of surveys, semester grades, and interviews with a subset of students. We performed statistical analysis on the metacognitive score generated from each survey and grades collected at the end of each semester. We performed qualitative trend and case study analysis on the open-ended survey questions and on the transcripts from the semi-structured interviews. We found stark differences in metacognition engagement between introductory students and seniors. We also found interesting patterns of development among those students we followed through multiple semesters. Results from this study will help to structure how future scaffolds and instructional tools are created and utilized to best support students in learning and understanding scientific concepts across disciplines.

avatar for Jaime L. Sabel

Jaime L. Sabel

Associate Professor, University of Memphis

Monday March 1, 2021 2:50pm - 3:05pm CST