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Self-regulated learning is comprised of motivation, cognition, and metacognition, the ability to comprehend and control one’s own cognitive processes. This project aims to improve self- regulated learning and academic performance in eighth grade classrooms through the implementation of an intervention – a series of directed lessons and activities – into the eighth grade history curriculum. In the initial stage of the project, the intervention focused on changing students’ mindset, in terms of their implicit theories of academic ability. The second stage of the project incorporated the teaching of the dimensions of metacognition to eighth grade students in a relatively didactic manner. The results in this stage showed some improvement in student learning, especially on an end-of -semester project, but no significant changes in the measures of metacognition, despite the use of a new measure more closely aligned to the theoretical model of metacognition (Ambrose, Bridges, Lovett, DePietro, & Norman, 2010). Based on these results and additional findings by Paris & Paris (2001) that emphasize group work and cognitive discussions in the intervention design, this current study (as the third stage of the project) adopts a more interactive teaching approach with the goal of fostering not only students’ knowledge, but also their use of metacognitive strategies. Four eighth-grade history sections under the direction of one teacher and two history sections under the direction of a second teacher will participate in the study. The addition of a second teacher will allow us to control for teacher effects for the first time. Three of the six history sections will be randomly assigned to the intervention group and three to the control group, which will receive information about college preparation rather than history-related lessons. All students will complete pre- and post-test questionnaires that measure metacognition, ability beliefs, and motivational learning variables. Student performance will be measured by overall changes in grades from one period to another, and by discrete indicators of student learning. In addition, a series of qualitative questions will be administered to both the experimental group and the control group. This new component will complement the quantitative metacognition scale (MC5), developed in stage two of the project, and capture potential changes in metacognitive thinking that could go undetected using only the quantitative measures. Finally, this year a teacher-evaluation component will be added to the research design, in which both teachers will evaluate each student’s metacognitive and motivational abilities before and after the intervention.


Community partner: Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy