Using the Reflection Prompt – Student Response – Instructor Comment Sequence to Improve Student Performance and Attitudes through Meta-Cognition

Jing Li, Petra Menz, and Cindy Xin (from left to right)

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Petra Menz, Department of Mathematics

Project team: Cindy Xin, TLC Educational Consultant, and Jing Li, research assistant

Timeframe: November 2014 to January 2016

Funding: $5,000

Course addressed: MATH 190 – Principles of Mathematics for Teachers

Final Report: View Petra Menz's final project report (PDF)

Description: MATH 190 gets offered both as a face-to-face course every fall and spring term and as a distance education course every term. The face-to-face course is taught by an instructor, while the online version is managed through the tutor marker (TM) based on the guidance given by the course instructor who stays in the background of the course. One of the goals for both versions of the course is to improve students’ meta-cognition and to re-orient them positively towards mathematics. Meta-cognition is one’s ability to monitor, evaluate, plan, and strategize one’s learning. For this purpose, I designed a reflective activity about five years ago that has now been integrated into Canvas. This activity allows the instructor and TM to read all submissions with the potential to provide feedback to every student response. It was quickly determined that students’ responses could be readily categorized and, based on this experiential finding, a number of  standard instructor feedbacks for each of the response categories have been developed. The goal of this project is to explore the effectiveness and usefulness of implementing these standard instructor feedbacks in terms of improving students’ metacognitive awareness and skills and their attitude toward mathematics.

Questions addressed:

  • What is the percentage of agreement between the instructor and the TM in assigning pre-constructed feedbacks over a semester?
  • Does meta-cognition improve among the students during the term through the reflection activity?
  • Do students become positively oriented towards mathematics through the reflection activity?

Knowledge sharing: Results will be shared during Lecturer Meeting and/or Teaching Seminar and also presented at a conference geared towards teaching and learning in higher education such as IUT, STHLE or CMS.

Menz, P., Xin, C. & Li, J. (2015). Design of online metacognitive activity in a post-secondary mathematics-for-teachers course. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of The Mathematics Education for the Future Project, Catania, IT.

Menz, P., Xin, C., & Li, J. (2015, June). Using reflective activity to improve student metacognition and attitudes in post-secondary education. Presentation at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Conference, Vancouver, BC.