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The Impacts of an Academic Intervention Based in Metacognition on Academic Performance

By Holly J. Swanson

As lead author, I returned to earn my doctorate after teaching high school science for a decade. I felt a need to learn how to properly assess all the amazing activities I was designing for my students, or at least what I thought was amazing, in terms of student learning outcomes. During my graduate studies, I worked in my university’s faculty development office as a graduate assistant. This was where I stumbled across what would become my dissertation research.

The office was hosting Dr. Saundra McGuire for a series of workshops with both students and faculty. The student workshop focused on metacognition and effective study strategies. The faculty workshops focused on student motivation, advising, and the facilitation of student metacognition. However, the office wanted to develop a way to prolong the impact of these types of guest-speaker events and started a book club with faculty members in preparation of Dr. McGuire’s visit. Additionally, there was a collaboration between the office and faculty members to award extra credit for students attending the workshop. The student workshop was broadcast, so certain degree programs could convene together with academic support and advisors to discuss the workshop in smaller groups. Finally, Eric Kaldor, PhD, Joshua Caulkins, and I developed the Ace-Your-Course-Challenge (AYCC) to extend and record the impact of that single student workshop. As AYCC expanded, we created workshops of our own where we presented to faculty how they could incorporate a similar intervention into their courses.

The concept of the AYCC was so unique to Dr. McGuire’s workshop, that she shares our outcomes as a part of her workshops. For me personally, even after all this time, the workshop experiences and the reflective opportunities can still be found in my courses, including genetics and introductory biology at American University.

Read the TLI article here.

Photo credit: Eric Kaldor, 2018

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