Detailed description. Self-regulation and learning: study of the interactions between metacognitive processes and motivational determinants.

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1 Detailed description. Self-regulation and learning: study of the interactions between metacognitive processes and motivational determinants. In 1992, the Conseil supérieur de l éducation du Quebec indicated that the evaluation of learning is an integral part of the act of learning and that, as in the title, could be an important factor in motivation, in self improvement, and in academic success. Sadler (1989) indicates that in order for this to be a measure of self improvement, students have to be attentive to the quality of their work. This presupposes that students have an adequate understanding of what constitutes good work in order to develop methods to improve their performance. In the case of complex learning, students who are provided opportunities to integrate multiple criteria feed-back, concrete experiences of self-regulation and co-evalaution are better equipped to understand the teacher s criteria and, in that way, develop a more refined understanding. Fournier and Laveault (1992; 1994) demonstrated that students who anticipate the questions and correctly self-evaluate are the ones who receive the best results on tests. Vivier (1988) goes so far as to recommend that practitioners invent teaching situations where the student will have, through a process of self-questioning and/or of questioning by the teacher, to differentiate between the results obtained and the anticipated result of his or her work, and from that, pose questions that would have otherwise been evident. Jonnaert and Laveault (1994) demonstrated that the students familiarity with a question when in a teaching situation may reduce the gap between the understanding of the task according to the teacher and the student. Students are weak judges when they attempt to evaluate the degree of familiarity in a teaching situation. This conclusion supports the recommendations of Moreland et al. (1981) who advocated training in self-evaluation for students. According to these researchers, one cannot attribute the difficulties of weak students to their ignorance of the criteria of evaluation. These students do just as well as stronger students when evaluating the work of their peers. It is when they apply the same criteria to their own work that they experience difficulties. They are more inclined to attribute their failures to external factors than to internal factors such as effort or ability. Evaluation facilitates within the student metacognitive knowledge about themselves, where the impact on motivation and success finally begin to be understood. In effect, the process of selfevaluation helps students progressively develop control perceptions that they can exercise to experience success. Bandura (1993) believes that the more a person perceives himself or herself to be efficacious, the more that person will set higher objectives and the more persistent the person will be in his or her efforts to obtain those objectives. Self-evaluation plays a key role in the acquisition of this perception: Learning environments that construe ability as an acquirable skill, de-emphasize competitive social comparison, and highlight self-comparison of progress and personal accomplishments are well suited for building a sense of efficacy that promotes academic achievement (Bandura, 1993; p. 125). Evaluation contributes to skill development in which, depending on capability variances, the teacher and student can intervene. The impact of these variances is relatively important to increase the possibility of academic success with weak students. For example, Fournier and Laveault (1992; 1994) estimate that approximately 25% of student success rate on a test can be explained by their capacity to correctly anticipate the questions.

2 Notwithstanding these results, other hypotheses are still to be verified. For example, we are ignoring if metacognitive variables and personal efficacy represent stable characteristics, are situation independent, or if they are influenced by the context. According to Wiersma & Jurs (1990), weak students experience the most difficulty anticipating questions in a higher taxonomical level. Moreover, if the perception of personal efficacy depends on the subject, a student can develop high levels of achievement motivation to succeed in French, but not in mathematics. This could account for the math phobia phenomenon. The understanding of how a task influences success results from the assimilation of evaluation experiences and previous feed-back. On the one hand, these experiences permit students to manage their work efficaciously - that is the role of the metacognitive system. On the other hand, the experiences influence their expectations and their effort and persistence- this is the role of achievement motivation. Even when anticipation and self-evaluation describe the ability of the student to know the objectives and the demands of the teacher in advance, it is personal efficacy which links their perception to the results of their efforts. As well, students can be very good at anticipating the demands of the teacher, but make no effort if they anticipate failure. For example, students may realize that they have difficulties in mathematics, but make no effort to address the problem if they attribute the difficulties to the teacher (external causal attribution). Finally, students who continually experience learning difficulties often develop different perceptions as compared to talented students, or students who do not experience difficulties. In order to develop an instrument to measure individual progress, evaluation must follow a double objective: to develop at the same time the knowledge and metacognitive strategies as well as motivational factors. Studies of these factors on the process of self-regulation demonstrate at which point they are interrelated. High intrinsic motivation is associated with the metacognitive process. Less motivated students tend to demonstrate a weak understanding of his or her cognitive processes. Dweck and Elliott (1983; in Prawat, 1989) remarked that there exists a difference between what the students are capable of doing and what they are ready to do. They distinguished two motivational orientations: (1) the teacher associated with a perception of capabilities as dynamic with the objective of being the most competent; and (2) the performance associated with a perception that capabilities are stable, with the objective being success. The two orientations have implications on the manner in which the student sees failure and the choice of strategies made. Biggs (1984; in Prawat, 1989) demonstrated that efficacious students select strategies which harmonize with their objectives. Vallacher and Wegner (1983; in Prawat, 1989) identified five factors which serve to manage the difficulties encountered within a cognitive activity. These included the relative difficulty, the complexity, the familiarity, the time dedicated to task, and the duration of the learning. According to the students orientation, either performance or teacher, and according to the necessities of the situation, each of the five factors interact differently with the management of the task. The learning orientation and the motivation of the student are therefore likely to influence the regulation of the task in accordance with the five factors. Because the utilization of strategies and the orientation that governs the students choice are not always congruent, there is a need to add a repertoire of motivational factors to the study of metacogniton. The study of the processes by which self-evaluation favors better regulation, at both a metacognitive and motivational level, is necessary to better understand how these processes affect self-regulated learning. The objective of our research program is to describe and explain in the context of self-regulated learning, the impact of self-evaluation procedures on:

3 1. the student s metacognitive system 2. the development of self-efficacy perceptions 3. the interaction between metacognition and efficacy beliefs as well as their effect on individual progress 4. three categories of students: 1) talented and gifted; 2) learning disabled; and 3) those with no learning disability We are proposing to study these variables and their interactions in a research process consisting of three phases. Phase I- A clinical exploratory study in a school setting to identify the variables and the possible relations. These case studies will have to be repeated until all the new circumstances can be interpreted as a function of the variables. Phase II- A model study of an authentic evaluation situation in a classroom, particularly during a training evaluation exercise where the processes of self-regulation are particularly important. Phase III- A study in an experimental situation permitting the exercise of control on the learning conditions and evaluation. This experimental situation will allow the researchers to control the amount of help given to a student and to measure the extent of his or her individual progress. The research questions we will try to answer are numerous. This list is not exhaustive, but presents the most pertinent questions. Concerning metacognitive variables: Does the anticipation of the students criteria of success depend on how well the objectives are communicated by the teacher? Does the degree of realism and coherence with self-regulation correlate with school success, with individual progress, with certain determinants of achievement motivation? Concerning sampling variables: Is there a difference between the three categories of students and their metacognitive abilities, their self-efficacy beliefs in terms of motivational determinants, metacognitive strategies? Concerning the interactions between metacognition and motivation: What is the degree of correlation between metacognitive awareness and attribution style? What is the correlation between learning orientation and metacognitive knowledge? Concerning motivational variables: Does the student s ability to correctly anticipate the expectations of the teacher allow the student to have more focused objectives? Is a student who feels efficacious more motivated to develop new strategies? Methodology Research variables The research variables represent two groups of variables in metacognitive variables and motivational variables. These are considered to be the independent variables. The dependent variables are the success of the task and, in Phase III, the individual progress. Metacognitive Variables 1. Anticipation- Operationally, one can measure as a manner of two gaps. The gap between teacher-student provides information on the understanding of a task from the student s point of view and the quality of the communication of objectives by the

4 teacher. The gap between student and group informs us of the individual aptitude of the student to come to an understanding which matches the expectation of the teacher. 2. Self-Evaluation- is the judgment that students apply to the quality of their work. This judgment is realistic when it corresponds to the quality of the response. It is coherent when the student manifests the same reality for both easy and difficult situations. Motivational Variables 1. Self-Efficacy- a composite variable that relies on a subjective estimation of the probability to successfully intervene in a learning situation. Two variables serve to evaluate self-efficacy, attribution system and goal perceptions. Attribution is estimated by the reasons provided to explain a success or failure. The goal perception is measured by the ability of the students to focus their expected goals and to establish their degree of self-satisfaction in relation to their objectives. Dependent Variables 1. The success of the activity- whether the homework, whether it be in an authentic situation or in an experimental situation 2. Individual progress- This is the measure of the change of accomplishment with or without help as well as after a teaching session. Sample Students of three distinct ability levels (with and without learning difficulties, gifted and talented) age years of age in the national capital region. The sample group corresponds to the intermediate level in Ontario. These age groups were chosen as they cover crucial developmental periods of young adolescence, levels of autonomous learning and scholastic persistence. Procedures and Instruments Phase I Clinical Study- will study the behavior of the students when they work on their homework and in preparation for a test. At this age, children usually work alone and it is an important period for the acquisition of self-regulatory strategies. The interview regarding the homework will be an opportunity to help the students and to ask them about their work habits: do they know what is expected of them? how they think they will do on their homework? how they will know? (self-evaluation) do they think they are capable of working alone? (self-efficacy). A comparison of responses by the three categories of students will permit the formulation of certain hypotheses concerning the factors that cause learning difficulties and enrich the research model. Phase II- Study in a school setting- will study the behavior of students in a test situation or exercise: 1) whether the student correctly anticipates test questions; 2) whether the students selfevaluation of their responses was coherent with reality; 3) whether there exists a correlation between persistence, feelings of efficacy and successful results. The comparison of the results between the three categories of students will clarify what metacognitive and motivational factors explain the differences between the groups. Phase III- Experimental study- a longitudinal study of short duration will place the student in a new situation requiring the solutions of spatial arrangement problems using the Imageo Test. For this test, there is a training session and adaptive exercises. This test will be used to evaluate the effect of metacognitive and motivational factors in situations with or without help, and before and after a teaching session. Individual progress will be put in relation to the attribution variables of

5 the research. The comparison between groups will contribute to determining the usefulness of forms of help in self-regulated learning and on motivational determinants. The longitudinal character of the study will help the researchers track the evolution of the different factors throughout the learning process. Analysis of Results Depending on the research phase, the analysis of the results will take different forms. 1. Discriminant and Proximal Analysis: in order to establish which motivational and metacognitive variables are differentiated between the three groups of students. 2. Causal Analysis: to determine the causal connections between the metacognitive and motivational variables. 3. Regression Analysis: to determine which variables, among the motivational and metacognitive variables, best predict school results and individual progress. Importance and Originality of Research The study of the role of metacognitive and self-efficacy variables is very important in the school context. A better awareness of metacognitive and motivational processes at play can illustrate the methods to use for testing that not only contributes to the assessment of academic difficulties, but prevents them.

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