Mair Carolyn

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Background Students arrive at university with high expectations. Consequently they are often disappointed. This can lead to a consumer mentality (?I have paid for my degree?), and increased attrition rates. Several complex issues affect such behaviour and an obvious starting point is to understand how to manage students? expectations. Evidence suggests relationships among metacognition, confidence and academic performance. However, boosting confidence per se may be undesirable, as over and under confidence lead to unrealistic expectations. In higher education, the problem is apparent when dissatisfaction when the actual outcome (i.e., grade or classification) does not correspond with students? expectations. Objective In order to address these issues, underlying cognitive strategies were developed by means of metacognitive instruction and critical reflection. The role and interaction of metacognition and confidence with expectations was investigated to understand if there exists an optimal confidence level for making realistic expectations. Procedure Student participants undertook the instructional and reflection activities, which were neither assessed nor monitored (to encourage disclosure), in part fulfilment of their coursework. Fully informed consent for the analysis of resultant data was given in advance. Students were allocated to a ?reading? or ?questionnaire? group. They completed an inventory to measure self-reported metacognitive awareness and were asked to predict the time and date they would complete their next assessment and the grade they would be awarded. Metacognitive training materials were uploaded weekly for the 6-week study period. Group 1 completed a reading activity each week. Group 2 completed a questionnaire-type activity. All materials focused on metacognition. In addition, each week, participants critically reflected using a structured reflection sheet. At the end of the 6-week period, the inventories were again administered. Baseline scores from the inventories were compared with post study scores, content analysis was conducted on the reflections and students? predicted dates and grades were compared with actual dates and grades. Results Metacognitive awareness and knowledge increased from before to after the study (according to the inventories and the reflection spreadsheets). A negative association was noted between prediction accuracy and both high and low metacognition (assessed using the inventories). A positive correlation was noted between prediction accuracy and high metacognition (assessed using the reflection spreadsheets). Conclusions In order to make realistic predictions, metacognitive skills, including deep self-awareness and monitoring, need to be developed. Content analysis was a better predictor of improvement than using self-report measures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, 5-7 March 2012, Valencia, Spain
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


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