Three aspects of metacognition that have been researched extensively are metacognitive knowledge, metacognitive monitoring, and metacognitive control. In this paper, we focus on metacognitive monitoring, which is an individual’s ability to assess the state of their cognitive activity, and metacognitive control, which is an individual’s ability to regulate cognitive activity. In two semester-long studies, we examined whether college students could improve their ability to accurately predict their own exam performance across multiple exams. We tested whether providing concrete feedback and incentives (i.e., extra credit) for accuracy would improve predictions by improving students’ metacognition, or awareness of their own knowledge. Students’ predictions were almost always higher than the grade they earned and this was particularly true for low-performing students. Experiment 1 demonstrated that providing incentives but minimal feedback failed to show improvement in students’ metacognition or performance. However, Experiment 2 showed that when feedback was made more concrete, metacognition improved for low performing students although exam scores did not improve across exams, suggesting that feedback and incentives influenced metacognitive monitoring but not control.
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