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Assessing Metacognition During Problem-Solving in Two Senior Concurrent Courses

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.204.1 - 24.204.15



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Paper Authors


Sheila Reyes Guerrero Universidad de las Américas Puebla

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Sheila Reyes Guerrero is Science, Engineering, and Technology Education Ph.D. Student at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. She teaches
Databases, Networks & Telecommunications, Contemporary Ethics, Basic computer, Internet protocols, Legal Aspects of Information Technology
Information Technologies, Foundations of educational technology.. Her research interests include faculty development, outcomes assessment, and creating effective learning environments.

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Nelly Ramirez-Corona Universidad de las Americas Puebla

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Aurelio Lopez-Malo Universidad de las Americas Puebla


Enrique Palou Universidad de las Americas Puebla

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Professor Palou is Director, Center for Science, Engineering, and Technology Education as well as Distinguished Professor and Past Chair, Department of Chemical, Food, and Environmental Engineering at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. He teaches engineering, food science, and education related courses. His research interests include emerging technologies for food processing, creating effective learning environments, using tablet PCs and associated technologies to enhance the development of 21st century expertise in engineering students, and building rigorous research capacity in science, engineering and technology education.

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Assessing Metacognition During Problem-Solving in Two Senior Concurrent CoursesMetacognition refers to people’s abilities to predict their performances on various tasks and tomonitor their current levels of mastery and understanding1. Flavell2, 3 distinguished twocharacteristics of metacognition: knowledge of cognition (KC) and regulation of cognition (RC).KC includes knowledge of the skills required by different tasks, strategic knowledge and self-knowledge. RC includes the ability to monitor one’s comprehension and to control one’slearning activities. There is a considerable amount of data that supports the value of ametacognitive approach to instruction4. It includes an emphasis on learning with understandingand on problem solving, but part of the emphasis is on understanding the cognitive andemotional processes involved in these kinds of activities1-5. We designed and implementedseveral problem-solving learning environments6, 7 (PSLEs) for two chemical engineering seniorconcurrent courses entitled Kinetics and Homogeneous Reactor Design and Mass Transfer UnitOperations I at University ABC. In order to support a metacognitive approach to instruction, theteacher of both courses created a supportive social environment and inserted a series of questionprompts during PSLEs as a form of coaching, where the problems to be solved were representedas cases that were utilized in several ways (worked examples, case studies, structural analogues,prior experiences, alternative perspectives, and simulations) as instructional supports6, 7.The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) designed by Schraw and Dennison8 was utilizedas a pre- (first day of classes) post- (last day of classes) test. MAI is a 52-item inventory thatmeasures adults’ metacognitive awareness. Items are classified into eight subcomponentssubsumed under two broader categories, KC and RC. Furthermore, in order to assessmetacognitive awareness during problem-solving activities, students had to answer thecorresponding problem as well as 2-3 embedded problem-solving prompts7 and 4-6 embeddedmetacognitive prompts (from MAI). MAI prompts were chosen based on the level of complexityof the problem and the type of knowledge and skills required to solve it. A final design challengewas used to simultaneously assess student attainment of learning outcomes for both courses,through the synthesis and analysis of the reaction and separation stages in a chemical plant.Students were asked to carry out a presentation of their solution methodology, obtained resultsand conclusions for this challenge. Presentations were videotaped to be further examined.Results for the pre-post MAI exhibit a significant (p0.05) in MAI. Analysis of final presentations allowed to identify students’ abilities to solvecomplex problems as well as their argumentative and metacognitive skills. The vast majority ofstudents attained expected both courses’ learning outcomes at an acceptable level.[1] Bransford, J.D., Brown A.L. and Cocking, R.R. 2000. How People Learn. Brain, Mind, Experience and School. Expanded Edition. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.[2] Flavell, J. 1976. Metacognitive aspects of problem-solving. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The Nature of Intelligence (pp. 231–236). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.[3] Flavell, J. 1979. Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive- developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34(10): 906–911.[4] Bransford, J.D., Vye, N. and Bateman, H. 2002. Creating High-Quality Learning Environments: Guidelines from Research on How People Learn. In P. Albjerg Graham, N.G. Stacey (Eds.), The Knowledge Economy and Postsecondary Education: Report of a Workshop. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.[5] XXX [For blind review purposes]. 2013. Proceedings of the 2013 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Atlanta, GA, June 23 – 26.[6] Jonassen, D. H., Strobel, J., and Lee, C. B. 2006. Everyday problem solving in engineering: Lessons for engineering educators. Journal of Engineering Education, 95(2): 1–14.[7] Jonassen, D. H. 2011. Learning to Solve Problems: A Handbook for Designing Problem- Solving Learning Environments. Routledge: New York.[8] Schraw, G., and Dennison, R. S. 1994. Assessing metacognitive awareness. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 19: 460-475.

Reyes Guerrero, S., & Ramirez-Corona, N., & Lopez-Malo, A., & Palou, E. (2014, June), Assessing Metacognition During Problem-Solving in Two Senior Concurrent Courses Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20095

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