Definitions, Underpinnings, Benefits


Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring:  A new area of cognitive-developmental inquiry.  American Psychologist, 34, 906-911.

Additional papers not cited but influential:

Schraw, G., & Moshman, D. (1995). Metacognitive theories. Educational psychology review7(4), 351-371.

Schraw, G., Crippen, K. J., & Hartley, K. (2006). Promoting self-regulation in science education: Metacognition as part of a broader perspective on learning. Research in science education36(1-2), 111-139.

Underpinnings and Benefits:

Nelson, T. O., & Narens, L. (1990). Metamemory: A theoretical framework and new findings. The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 26, 125-141.

Metcalfe, J., & Finn, B. (2008).  Evidence that judgments of learning are causally related to study choice.  Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 15, 174-179.

Koriat, A., & Goldsmith, M. (1996). Monitoring and control processes in the strategic regulation of memory accuracy. Psychological Review, 103, 490-517.

Dunlosky, J., & Rawson, K. A. (2012). Overconfidence produces underachievement: Inaccurate self-evaluations undermine students’ learning and retention. Learning and Instruction, 22, 271-280.

Serra, M., & Dunlosky, J. (2010).  Metacomprehension judgments reflect the belief that diagrams improve learning from text.  Memory, 18, 698-711.

Geller, J., Toftness, A. R., Armstrong, P. I., Carpenter, S. K., Manz, C. L., Coffman , C. R., & Lamm, M. H. (2017).  Study strategies and beliefs about learning as a function of academic achievement and achievement goals.  Memory, 26, 683-690.

Tanner, K. D. (2012). Promoting student metacognition. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 11(2), 113-120.

Supporting Student Learning Strategies

What Students Do:

Tomanek, D., & Montplaisir, L. (2004). Students’ studying and approaches to learning in introductory biology. Cell Biology Education, 3, 253-262.

Karpicke, J. D., Butler, A. C., & Roediger III, H. L. (2009). Metacognitive strategies in student learning: do students practise retrieval when they study on their own? Memory, 17, 471-479.

Lopez, E. J., Nandagopal, K., Shavelson, R. J., Szu, E., & Penn, J. (2013). Self-regulated learning study strategies and academic performance in undergraduate organic chemistry: An investigation examining ethnically diverse students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 50, 660-676.

Morehead, K., Rhodes, M. G., & DeLozier, S. (2016). Instructor and student knowledge of study strategies. Memory, 24, 257-271.

Sebesta, A. J., & Bray Speth, E. (2017). How should I study for the exam? Self-regulated learning strategies and achievement in introductory biology. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 16, ar30.

Additional papers not cited but influential:

Hadwin, A. F., Winne, P. H., Stockley, D. B., Nesbit, J. C., & Woszczyna, C. (2001). Context moderates students’ self-reports about how they study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 477.

Blasiman, R. N., Dunlosky, J., & Rawson, K. A. (2017). The what, how much, and when of study strategies: Comparing intended versus actual study behaviour. Memory, 25(6), 784-792.

What Students Should Do:

Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14, 4-58.

Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). What works, what doesn’t. Scientific American Mind24(4), 46-53.

Eglington, L. G., & Kang, S. H. (2017). Interleaved presentation benefits science category learning. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 6, 475-485.

Rodriguez, F., Rivas, M. J., Matsumura, L. H., Warschauer, M., & Sato, B. K. (2018). How do students study in STEM courses? Findings from a light-touch intervention and its relevance for underrepresented students. PloS One, 13.

Walck-Shannon, E. M., Cahill, M. J., McDaniel, M. A., & Frey, R. F. (2019). Participation in voluntary re-quizzing is predictive of increased performance on cumulative assessments in introductory biology. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 18, ar15.

Additional papers not cited but influential:

Carpenter, S. K., Cepeda, N. J., Rohrer, D., Kang, S. H., & Pashler, H. (2012). Using spacing to enhance diverse forms of learning: Review of recent research and implications for instruction. Educational Psychology Review, 24(3), 369-378.

Roediger III, H. L., & Pyc, M. A. (2012). Inexpensive techniques to improve education: Applying cognitive psychology to enhance educational practice. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1(4), 242-248.

Miyatsu, T., Gouravajhala, R., Nosofsky, R. M., & McDaniel, M. A. (2019). Feature highlighting enhances learning of a complex natural-science category. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45(1), 1.

Birnbaum, M. S., Kornell, N., Bjork, E. L., & Bjork, R. A. (2013). Why interleaving enhances inductive learning: The roles of discrimination and retrieval. Memory & Cognition, 41(3), 392-402.

Wahlheim, C. N., Dunlosky, J., & Jacoby, L. L. (2011). Spacing enhances the learning of natural concepts: An investigation of mechanisms, metacognition, and aging. Memory & Cognition, 39(5), 750-763.

Kang, S. H., & Pashler, H. (2012). Learning painting styles: Spacing is advantageous when it promotes discriminative contrast. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(1), 97-103.

Stanger-Hall, K. F., Shockley, F. W., & Wilson, R. E. (2011). Teaching students how to study: a workshop on information processing and self-testing helps students learn. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 10(2), 187-198.

Son, L. K. (2004). Spacing one’s study: evidence for a metacognitive control strategy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30(3), 601.

Cook, E., Kennedy, E., & McGuire, S. Y. (2013). Effect of teaching metacognitive learning strategies on performance in general chemistry courses. Journal of Chemical Education90(8), 961-967.

Factors that Affect What Students Should Do:

Scouller, K. (1998). The influence of assessment method on students’ learning approaches: Multiple choice question examination versus assignment essay. Higher Education, 35, 453-472.

Hartwig, M. K., & Dunlosky, J. (2012). Study strategies of college students: Are self-testing and scheduling related to achievement?. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19, 126-134.

Hattie, J. A., & Donoghue, G. M. (2016). Learning strategies: A synthesis and conceptual model. Nature Partner Journal Science of Learning, 1, 1-13.

Steiner, H. H. (2016). The Strategy Project: Promoting Self-Regulated Learning through an Authentic Assignment. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 28, 271-282.

Chen, P., Chavez, O., Ong, D. C., & Gunderson, B. (2017). Strategic resource use for learning: A self-administered intervention that guides self-reflection on effective resource use enhances academic performance. Psychological Science, 28, 774-785.

Sebesta, A. J., & Bray Speth, E. (2017). How should I study for the exam? Self-regulated learning strategies and achievement in introductory biology. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 16, ar30.

Kuhbandner, C., & Emmerdinger, K. J. (2019). Do students really prefer repeated rereading over testing when studying textbooks? A reexamination. Memory, 27, 952-961.

Additional papers not cited but influential:

Stanger-Hall, K. F. (2012). Multiple-choice exams: an obstacle for higher-level thinking in introductory science classes. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 11(3), 294-306.

Kritzinger, A., Lemmens, J. C., & Potgieter, M. (2018). Learning strategies for first-year biology: Toward moving the “Murky Middle”. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 17(3), ar42.

Wissman, K. T., Rawson, K. A., & Pyc, M. A. (2012). How and when do students use flashcards?. Memory, 20(6), 568-579.

Osueke , B., Mekonnen, B., & Stanton, J. D. (2018). How undergraduate science students use learning objectives to study. Journal of microbiology & biology education, 19(2).

Rawson, K. A., & Dunlosky, J. (2012). When is practice testing most effective for improving the durability and efficiency of student learning?. Educational Psychology Review, 24(3), 419-435.

Challenges students face in using their metacognition:

McCabe, J. (2011). Metacognitive awareness of learning strategies in undergraduates. Memory & Cognition, 39, 462-476.

Kornell, N., & Bjork, R. A. (2008). Learning concepts and categories: Is spacing the “enemy of induction”?. Psychological Science19, 585-592.

Roediger III, H. L., & Karpicke, J. D. (2006). Test-enhanced learning: Taking memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science17, 249-255.

Stanton, Julie Dangremond, Xyanthe N. Neider, Isaura J. Gallegos, Nicole C. Clark. “Differences in metacognitive regulation in introductory biology students: when prompts are not enough”. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 14, 1-12.

Dye, K. M., & Stanton, J. D. (2017). Metacognition in upper-division biology students: Awareness does not always lead to control. CBE—Life Sciences Education16, ar31.

Additional papers not cited but influential:

Dembo, M. H., & Seli, H. P. (2004). Students’ Resistance to Change in Learning Strategies Courses. Journal of Developmental Education27(3), 2.

Susser, J. A., & McCabe, J. (2013). From the lab to the dorm room: Metacognitive awareness and use of spaced study. Instructional Science, 41, 345–363.

Yan, V. X., Bjork, E. L., & Bjork, R. A. (2016). On the difficulty of mending metacognitive illusions: A priori theories, fluency effects, and misattributions of the interleaving benefit. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(7), 918.

Book not cited but influential:

McGuire, S. Y. (2015). Teach students how to learn: Strategies you can incorporate into any course to improve student metacognition, study skills, and motivation. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Encouraging Students to Monitoring and Control Their Learning

While Preparing for a Test:

Thiede, K. W., Anderson, M.,Therriault, D. (2003).  Accuracy of metacognitive monitoring affects learning of texts.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 66-73.

van Overshcelde, J. P., & Nelson, T. O. (2006).  Delayed judgments of learning cause a decrease in absolute accuracy (calibration) and an increase in relative accuracy (resolution).  Memory & Cognition, 34, 1527-1538.

Rawson, K. A. & Dunlosky, J. (2007). Improving students’ self-evaluation of learning for key concepts in textbook materials.  European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 19, 559-579.

Gagnon, M., & Cormier, S. (2019).  Retrieval practice and distributed practice:  The case of French Canadian students.  Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 34, 83-97.

While Taking a Test:

de Carvalho Filho, M. K. (2009).  Confidence judgments in real classroom settings:  Monitoring performance in different types of tests.  International Journal of Psychology, 44, 93-108.

Händel, M., Harder, B., & Dresel, M. (2020).  Enhanced monitoring accuracy and test performance:  Incremental effects of judgment training over and above repeated testing.  Learning and Instruction, 65, 101245.

Cogliano, M. C., Kardash, C. A. M., Bernacki, M. L. (2019).  The effects of retrieval practice and prior topic knowledge on test performance and confidence judgments.  Contemporary Educational Psychology, 56, 117-129.

Koriat, A., & Goldsmith, M. (1996). Monitoring and control processes in the strategic regulation of memory accuracy. Psychological Review, 103, 490-517.

Stylianou-Georgiou, A., & Papanastasiou, E. C. (2017). Answer changing in testing situations: The role of metacognition in deciding which answers to review. Educational Research and Evaluation, 23, 102-118.

Additional papers not cited but influential:

Ziegler, B., & Montplaisir, L. (2014). Student perceived and determined knowledge of biology concepts in an upper-level biology course. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 13(2), 322-330.

Bell, P., & Volckmann, D. (2011). Knowledge surveys in general chemistry: confidence, overconfidence, and performance. Journal of Chemical Education, 88(11), 1469-1476.

Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(6), 1121.

Krueger, J., & Mueller, R. A. (2002). Unskilled, unaware, or both? The better-than-average heuristic and statistical regression predict errors in estimates of own performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 180–188.

Osterhage, J. L., Usher, E. L., Douin, T. A., & Bailey, W. M. (2019). Opportunities for Self-Evaluation Increase Student Calibration in an Introductory Biology Course. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 18(2), ar16.

After Taking a Test (Evaluating):

Dye, K. M., & Stanton, J. D. (2017). Metacognition in upper-division biology students: Awareness does not always lead to control. CBE—Life Sciences Education16(2), ar31.

Stanton, J. D., Dye, K. M., & Johnson, M. S. (2019). Knowledge of Learning Makes a Difference: A Comparison of Metacognition in Introductory and Senior-Level Biology Students. CBE—Life Sciences Education18(2), ar24.

Sabel, J. L., Dauer, J. T., & Forbes, C. T. (2017). Introductory biology students’ use of enhanced answer keys and reflection questions to engage in metacognition and enhance understanding. CBE—Life Sciences Education16(3), ar40.

Additional papers not cited but influential:

Dang, N. V., Chiang, J. C., Brown, H. M., & McDonald, K. K. (2018). Curricular activities that promote metacognitive skills impact lower-performing students in an introductory biology course. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education19(1).

Siegesmund, A. (2017). Using self-assessment to develop metacognition and self-regulated learners. FEMS Microbiology Letters364(11).

Andaya, G., Hrabak, V. D., Reyes, S. T., Diaz, R. E., & McDonald, K. K. (2017). Examining the effectiveness of a postexam review activity to promote self-regulation in introductory biology students. Journal of College Science Teaching, 46(4).

Promoting Social Metacognition During Group Work

Chiu, M. M., & Kuo, S. W. (2010). From metacognition to social metacognition: Similarities, differences, and learning. Journal of Education Research, 3, 321-338.

Kim, D., & Lim, C. (2018). Promoting socially shared metacognitive regulation in collaborative project-based learning: a framework for the design of structured guidance. Teaching in Higher Education, 23, 194-211.

Van De Bogart, K. L., Dounas-Frazer, D. R., Lewandowski, H. J., & Stetzer, M. R. (2017). Investigating the role of socially mediated metacognition during collaborative troubleshooting of electric circuits. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 13, 020116.

Goos, M., Galbraith, P., & Renshaw, P. (2002). Socially mediated metacognition: Creating collaborative zones of proximal development in small group problem solving. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 49, 193-223.

Miller, M., & Hadwin, A. (2015). Scripting and awareness tools for regulating collaborative learning: Changing the landscape of support in CSCL. Computers in Human Behavior, 52, 573-588.

Additional papers not cited but influential:

De Backer, L., Van Keer, H., & Valcke, M. (2015). Exploring evolutions in reciprocal peer tutoring groups’ socially shared metacognitive regulation and identifying its metacognitive correlates. Learning and Instruction, 38, 63-78.

Hadwin, A. F., Järvelä, S., & Miller, M. (2011). Self-regulated, co-regulated, and socially shared regulation of learning. Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance, 30, 65- 84.

Siegel, M. A. (2012). Filling in the distance between us: Group metacognition during problem solving in a secondary education course. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21(3), 325-341.

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Cite this guide: Stanton JD, Sebesta AJ, and Dunlosky J (2021). Evidence Based Teaching Guide: Student Metacognition. LSE. Retrieved from
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