The Impacts of an Academic Intervention Based in Metacognition on Academic Performance


  • Holly J. Swanson American University
  • Adelola Ojutiku University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Bryan Dewsbury Florida International University



metacognition, reflective writing, intervention, self-regulated learning


Providing reflective opportunities for students to independently develop their metacognition and expand their abilities to make judgments about themselves as learners, including which learning strategies are personally most effective for any given task, have been shown to improve academic performance. We designed a metacognition-based intervention that was structured to provide four weeks of reflective opportunities for students following a metacognitive learning strategies workshop. Qualitative analysis of student responses from the first week’s survey found evidence of metacognitive skill development and self-reported improvements in learning, including an improvement in confidence and preparedness for classes and exams, and better understanding and retention of course content. Our results suggest that students who described an increase in their confidence during the first week were two times more likely to complete the intervention. This completion was correlated with a higher semester GPA, regardless of student identity, prior academic performance, and strategy choice or outcome description during the first week.

Read the corresponding ISSOTL blog post here.


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Author Biographies

Holly J. Swanson, American University

Holly J. Swanson (USA) is a faculty member and the director of laboratories for the biology department at American University. Her work focuses on metacognition and self-regulated learning in undergraduate students in biology.

Adelola Ojutiku, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Adelola Ojutiku (USA) is a PhD Candidate in economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her work focuses on the history and legacy of colonial institutions in West African economies. 

Bryan Dewsbury, Florida International University

Bryan Dewsbury (USA) is an associate professor in the biological sciences department at Florida International University. His work focuses on the social context of teaching and learning in various educational settings.


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How to Cite

Swanson, Holly J., Adelola Ojutiku, and Bryan Dewsbury. 2024. “The Impacts of an Academic Intervention Based in Metacognition on Academic Performance”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 12 (April):1–19.