Metacognitive Systematic Inquiry Utilizing Individualized Cognitive Profiles Causes Reading Comprehension Achievement

Kathleen D. Allen, George Fox University


The positive effects of systematic metacognitive instruction on reading achievement have been demonstrated, but that research has generally not been translated into classroom practice. This mixed methods research study sought to facilitate reading comprehension by involving subjects metacognitively with profiles of their own cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The study was conducted with 196 intermediate elementary students in the naturalized setting of 10 classrooms. Student scores from Woodcock-Johnson III cognitive clusters were utilized to generate individual cognitive profiles. In each classroom there were three experimental levels: 1. cognitive assessment only (control group) vs. 2. cognitive assessment + profile awareness (profile awareness group) vs. 3 . cognitive assessment + cognitive profile awareness + metacognitive systematic inquiry (metacognitive systematic inquiry group). The metacognitive systematic inquiry treatment occurred as part of classroom independent reading instruction with judgments of learning, feedback, self-reflection, and comprehension questions related to those individual cognitive strengths and weaknesses which have been shown to correlate with reading comprehension. This treatment yielded significantly higher comprehension on a state standardized reading test, but not on an informal reading inventory. In a qualitative analysis, the treatment groups seemed to be more proficient at articulating declarative knowledge about individual cognitive abilities and reading strengths, as well as procedural knowledge about the connection between reading comprehension and cognitive ability. This study provides an example of how research findings in metacognition and metacomprehension can be generalized into classroom practice.