Development of a Metacognition Questionnaire

Modified: 11th Nov 2021
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The article discusses the development of a metacognition questionnaire. The researchers have provided detailed steps on how the questionnaire was developed. The questionnaire was referred to as the Awareness of Independent Learning Inventory (AILI). According to Meijer et al (2013), there is a difference between metacognitive regulation and metacognitive knowledge. Metacognitive regulation refers to a person's ability to regulate different cognitive activities within the actual practice. In contrast, metacognitive knowledge refers to how well a person can solve problems successfully. The researchers discussed two existing metacognitive questionnaires which include the MAI and the MSLQ. The MSLQ assesses the motivational orientation of college students and how the students use different learning strategies in their learning. In contrast, the MAI questionnaire is used by researchers on both adults and adolescents to identify metacognitive learners. However, Meijer et al (2013) emphasize that these two questionnaires do not address metacognitive responsiveness hence there is a need to develop AILI which will address metacognitive responsiveness.

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The researchers constructed two versions of AILI which include AILI A and AILI B. These two versions of AILI purposed to gauge the metacognition skills of the students across different topics. Three distinct characteristics differentiated AILI from other questionnaires. First, AILI conceptualized three major components which include metacognitive responsiveness, metacognitive regulation, and metacognitive knowledge. Secondly, AILI avoided intertwining metacognitive and cognitive questions. Lastly, AILI considers metacognition to be a trait rather than a state. Besides, the researchers used a faceted design to come with the given questionnaire.

Before the actual research, the validity and reliability of the AILI questionnaire were tested during the pilot study.

The researchers administered the AILI questionnaire to 1058 students from different institutes that offers a teaching platform for the teachers in Belgium and the Netherlands. Similarly, another group of 729 students from the University of Maastricht studying Economics and Business Administration was given an English version of the AILI questionnaire. It took the students 25 minutes to fill in the questionnaires. For data analysis, the researchers performed a decision study and a generalizability study. From the study finds, the reliability of the AILI was satisfactory. This was tested using the generalizability study. The findings obtained from the decision study revealed that the components of AILI could be reduced to leave two components of a single dimension of the facet design. Nevertheless, the study findings indicated congruence with the relevant parts of MSLQ and the AILI questionnaire.

The study concluded that the AILI questionnaire is valid and reliable tools that can be utilized too measure the metacognitive responsiveness, regulation, and knowledge. Thus, the AILI questionnaire can be utilized to increase metacognitive responsiveness, knowledge, and regulation of higher education students. However, the researchers recommended further research to validate the AILI questionnaire. The researchers agreed that there was a need to use separate scores even though the AILI sub-component score was highly correlated. Also, there are uncertainties about whether there was successful avoidance of intertwinement of metacognition and cognition in the AILI questionnaire.

Psychology of education focuses on the different ways used by humans to learn and retain important knowledge in a learning set-up. Therefore, the use of psychology in education is interested in social, emotional and cognitive learning. Therefore, a psychologist researching education is likely to focus on testing and teaching methods, learning, and classroom environment, behavioral and social problems. The current article demonstrates psychology in education by focusing on a testing method that is based on psychology. The AILI questionnaire tests metacognition which is a major aspect studied in psychology. About psychology, metacognition refers to "cognition of cognition." This involves regulation and knowledge about cognitive phenomena.

Different views are given by psychologists who are interested in the field of education. According to Arnold et al (2017), educational psychology is interested in analyzing factors like instructional process, student outcomes, gifted learners and student differences in learning. The modern complex education system has compelled psychologists to work closely with students, administrators and instructors to improve learning outcomes. According to Gascoine, Higgins, and Wall (2017), psychologists working in an educational approach are majorly interested in organizational learning, instructional design, special education, curriculum development, and gifted learners. There are different psychological perspectives used to understand education. The behavioral perspective believes that conditioning facilitates learning of new behaviors. Educational perspectives using this view rely on operant conditioning. The recent view of education is the constructive approach which tries to understand how children construct knowledge of their surroundings. Other psychological views of education include the cognitive perspective and the developmental perspective.

Several influential works of different scholars have influenced education psychology. Jerome Bruner is a psychologist who made a great contribution to the cognitive revolution. His work addresses key areas in education which include analytical and intuitive learning, readiness for learning, and the central role of structure in learning and teaching and motives for learning.

According to Bruner, human beings have a generic coding system that provides them with an ability to reflect and analyze data to obtain useful predictions. Also, David Ausubel is a psychologist whose work is highly influential in education psychology. He came up with an understanding of "advance organizers" to improve knowledge retention and assimilation. According to Couchman et al (2016), educators and teachers have the capability of presenting new knowledge to students in an understandable way. Other influential scholars in educational psychology include Benjamin Bloom, Albert Bandura, and Howard Gardner. The current approach to metacognition questionnaires is different from the previous approaches. The MAI and MSQL questionnaires assess metacognitive regulation and metacognitive knowledge. However, the current approach to metacognition using the AILI questionnaire captures an additional factor which is metacognitive responsiveness. In general, the AILI questionnaire tests the metacognitive regulation, metacognitive knowledge, and metacognitive responsiveness.

Psychologists are interested in meta-cognition because it's the control of conscious cognitive activity. The new concept of mindfulness has led to the study of different aspects of metacognition. This is because there are shared commonalities between mindfulness and metacognition. Thus, metacognition is a concept that is demonstrated in daily activities. According to Karwowski, Czerwonka, and Kaufman (2018), metacognition has two major clusters of activities which include monitoring the levels of cognition knowledge. Thus, metacognitive knowledge is a person's understanding of the existing cognitive processes. In contrast, metacognitive regulation is manifested during the problem-solving process when a person can regulate the cognitive process.

According to Özsoy, Memiş, and Temur (2017), the two elements of metacognition are related by the have distinct characteristics. First, knowledge about cognition is fallible, stable and develops late. In contrast, cognitive regulation is independent of age and unstable. Another reason why psychologists are interested in metacognition is that meta-cognition is used in psychotherapies. Such therapies are referred to as metacognitive therapies (MCT). Other types of psychotherapies focus on thought content whereas MCT is interested in the thought process. For a metacognitive therapist, a person's thinking and behavior control are more important compared to what the person is thinking about. In MCT, the general intention is to mechanisms responsible for the development and maintenance of psychological disorders. These mechanisms include metacognitive attention, believes and the control of thoughts.

Metacognition is also a relevant psychological topic in the field of education. According to Desoete (2017), metacognition is used in almost all problem-solving situations. However, Meijer et al (2013) have revealed the use of metacognitive tests in learning. The AILI questionnaire is meant to improve the learning outcomes of the students by targeting their metacognitive skills. One area of interest for metacognitive tests is to teach students how to regulate and control their comprehension of information when reading. Desoete (2017) confirmed this intervention by improving the student's metacognitive skills by using tutor feedback and reflection prompts.

The researchers provided an overview of the previous literature to provide readers with a clear background of AILI. This exposed the previous tests developed to test the metacognitive abilities of students. This includes the MSLQ and MAI. Also, the researcher's distinguished between the two tests and the AILI. From a psychological perspective, good research acknowledges similar works of other researchers. Meijer et al (2013) also provided a research justification which indicates why the AILI questionnaire should be conducted. The AILI questionnaire can capture metacognitive responsiveness which is not tested by MSLQ and MAI.

This satisfies the aim of psychological research which is to add new knowledge to the existing psychological knowledge.

The AILI questionnaire considered conceptualization of metacognition, avoiding intertwinement between metacognitive and cognitive questions and viewing metacognition from the perspective of a trait. The researchers used facet design to develop the AILI questionnaire. Generally, facet design is used by psychologists to coordinate theory and research. Validity and reliability tests are of paramount importance when developing a psychological test. This determines the generalization of the study findings to the general population. Through the use of generalizability theory, the results were deemed valid and reliable. The sample used for the research was representative of the general population having both male and female respondents who were undertaking different learning courses and from different countries.

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The sample selection met the criteria for psychological research. Also, there was a uniform administration of the AILI questionnaire with no bias. The use of decision study and generalizability put the AILI questionnaire within the scope of psychology. This is because the two analysis methods are commonly used in psychology research. Moreover, the researchers used the test-retest method to confirm the reliability of the study. This is a common test used by psychologists to establish study reliability, especially when developing new tests or confirming the outcomes of a theory. The test-retest method was used to test correlations that were obtained from a given number of students in their first year of study.

The results from both the decision study and the generalizability study indicate that the AILI test can be used in different populations. Therefore, these results are psychological. First, the researchers used a psychological method to arrive at the results. The metacognitive responsiveness was 0.25. This suggested that students who were reporting on metacognitive responsiveness were dependent on the study context. Secondly, the study established correlations while using the AILI questionnaire. In psychology, correlation studies are conducted to establish a relationship between two or more variables. These correlations were used by the researchers to arrive at the results. For example, the researchers used correlation to establish the relationship between AILI and MALQ factors. The obtained correlation scores indicate that the MSLQ scale corresponds to the AILI components like performance and learning. These results are similar to other metacognition studies which indicate that AILI tests like MAI and MSLQ questionnaires can test learning-related metacognition.

Other scholars are likely to view these results as irrelevant. A close look at the components of the AILI questionnaire reveal that the AILI tests metacognitive elements that were tested earlier by MAI and MSLQ questionnaires. Using AILI in educational contexts would be similar to using the MSLQ test. Also, there is no clear explanation of how the researchers avoided the intertwinement of metacognition and cognition. This reveals some gaps in the methodology. A good methodology in psychology should be followed by another researcher to arrive at the same results. However, the methodology used is confusing since it cannot be followed by another researcher due to a lack of a clear method for avoiding the intertwinement between metacognition and cognition.

The article is psychological in nature considering the concept discussed and the methodology used to develop the questionnaire. Metacognition is a psychological concept which is usually applied in education psychology. Prior to the AILI questionnaire, other psychologists had developed MSLQ and MAI questionnaires that were responsible in measuring metacognitive knowledge and regulation. The researchers argue that AILI is able to test three factors which include metacognitive knowledge, parameters and responsiveness. The research findings are considered psychological because the researchers used generalizability test and decision study to examine the rationality in the AILI questionnaire. Also, there was a broad use of correlation to establish the relationship between AILI and MSLQ questionnaire. Correlation is an analysis method which is used in psychological research. Unfortunately, lack of a clear method to avoid intertwinement between cognition and metacognition challenges the reliability and generalizability of the research findings.


Arnold, M. M., Graham, K., & Hollingworth‐Hughes, S. (2017). What's Context Got to Do with It? Comparative Difficulty of Test Questions Influences Metacognition and Corrected Scores for Formula‐scored Exams. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 31(2), 146-155.

Couchman, J. J., Miller, N. E., Zmuda, S. J., Feather, K., & Schwartzmeyer, T. (2016). The instinct fallacy: The metacognition of answering and revising during college exams. Metacognition and Learning, 11(2), 171-185.

Desoete, A. (2017). Mathematics and metacognition in adolescents and adults with learning disabilities. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 2(1), 82-100.

Gascoine, L., Higgins, S., & Wall, K. (2017). The assessment of metacognition in children aged 4–16 years: a systematic review. Review of Education, 5(1), 3-57.

Karwowski, M., Czerwonka, M., & Kaufman, J. C. (2018). Does intelligence strengthen creative metacognition?. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

Meijer, J., Sleegers, P., Elshout-Mohr, M., Daalen-Kapteijns, M. V., Meeus, W., & Tempelaar, D. (2013). The development of a questionnaire on metacognition for students in higher education. Educational research, 55(1), 31-52.

Özsoy, G., Memiş, A., & Temur, T. (2017). Metacognition, study habits and attitudes. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 2(1), 154-166.


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