Asee peer logo

Improving Inclusivity and Diversity in College STEM Programs Through Metacognitive Classroom Practices

Download Paper |


2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track: Learning Spaces, Pedagogy, and Curriculum Design Technical Session 3

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Learning Spaces, Pedagogy & Curriculum Design

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Elizabeth Hane Rochester Institute of Technology

visit author page

Dr. Elizabeth Hane is a forest ecologist, and an associate professor in the Gosnell School of Life Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She also serves as the Faculty Associate to the Provost for General Education, and advises RIT’s provost on issues surrounding general education curriculum and delivery. Her research focus has recently shifted from ecology to developing methods that support the retention of underrepresented students in STEM, and particularly on assessment and metacognition, which can help support students who come from diverse intellectual and social backgrounds. She has current funding related to projects that seek to use metacognitive approaches to increase retention of underrepresented STEM students, including an NSF-sponsored project for which she developed and team-taught a course on metacognition for first generation and deaf/hard-of-hearing first year students. As part of an HHMI Inclusive Excellence project, she is also developing workshops to facilitate other faculty members using metacognitive modules in their courses.

visit author page


Scott Franklin Rochester Institute of Technology

visit author page

Scott Franklin is a Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the CASTLE Center for Advancing STEM Teaching, Learning & Evaluation at Rochester Institute of Technology. His education research includes projects on the development of identity and affiliation in physics majors throughout their undergraduate career, and, separately, how physicists express conceptual meaning in mathematical formalism. He has co-directed the PEER faculty development program for four years, integrating emerging research projects into ongoing programmatic activities that seek to improve the retention of first-generation and deaf/hard-of hearing students in STEM disciplines.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Keywords: undergraduate, gender, disability, 1st generation

We report on results from RIT’s Project IMPRESS: Integrating Metacognitive Practices to Ensure Student Success, a 5-year NSF funded program to improve retention of first-generation and deaf/hard-of-hearing students in STEM disciplines. As part of IMPRESS, we have developed and taught a first-year course “Metacognitive Approaches to Scientific Inquiry.” The course, which satisfies the Institute’s Ethical Perspectives requirement, introduces students to a variety of metacognitive issues and practices including: developing a growth mindset; Bloom’s and Perry’s taxonomies for content and intellectual development; inaccuracy in self-assessment; lateral and longitudinal transfer of knowledge and experiences; and the benefits of self-reflection. Over 200 students in five years have taken the course, with very promising results. Retention of IMPRESS 1st-generation and DHH students into their 2nd, 3rd and 4th year are all above 80%, at or exceeding the institutional average. IMPRESS student demographics are inclusive: 35% are women; 32% from identities historically excluded from STEM disciplines; and 17% Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH). Retention results are consistent across these demographics.

In qualitative research focus groups students consistently report IMPRESS experiences as life-changing. Students recognize that issues and strategies learned in the class can be used in their other classes and that this class essentially teaches them “how to learn.” Students also report great appreciation for a class in which disciplinary faculty (as opposed to academic or student support staff) demonstrate meaningful care for students as humans. Additionally, a quantitative study comparing IMPRESS students with a matched group of non-IMPRESS 1st-generation/DHH students found that IMPRESS students were more likely to report satisfaction with their choice of RIT as an institution.

In this paper we describe the curricular innovations that comprise the foundations of the Metacognition course and the latest analyses of retention and student satisfaction.

Hane, E., & Franklin, S. (2019, April), Improving Inclusivity and Diversity in College STEM Programs Through Metacognitive Classroom Practices Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015