Assessing metacognitive knowledge in 3–5 year olds: the development of a metacognitive knowledge interview (McKI)
Historically, early cognitive skills have been underestimated, largely as a result of the ways these competencies have been measured, which is particularly pervasive in the area of metacognition. Only recently have researchers begun to detect evidence of contextualized metacognition in 3–5 year old preschool children through the use of observational assessment tools (e.g., Whitebread et al. J Cogn Educ Psychol 3:433-455, 2007, Metacognition Learn 4:63-85, 2009). While these observational methods are a more sensitive way to capture metacognition in young children, their exclusive use may not result in a comprehensive depiction of early metacognitive competency. In the current study, we describe the development of a metacognitive knowledge interview (McKI) and what it reveals about metacognitive processes in 43 3–5 year olds (including investigating face validity). Findings indicate that the McKI (a) is a developmentally appropriate measure for 3–5 year olds, (b) is capable of eliciting articulated metacognitive knowledge when engaging in a contextualized problem-solving task, (c) shows the expected developmental trend (i.e., older children perform at a higher level and scores increased over the course of a school year), and (d) provides sufficient variation across children. Implications for future research are discussed, including the importance of using multiple measurement tools when studying early metacognitive development.