Investigating the Effects of Academic Coaching on College Students’ Metacognition


Academic coaching is an increasingly prevalent form of student support in higher education, although empirical research on the intervention is relatively limited (Robinson, 2015). Academic coaching is intended to advance student learning, well-being, and success in a context external but complementary to the classroom (Richman, Rademacher, & Maitland, 2014; Robinson, 2015). This exploratory study used a randomized control trial design to investigate the effects of academic coaching on college students’ metacognition, a primary component of self-regulated learning. We recruited undergraduates who had not previously participated in academic coaching and randomly assigned them to three groups: in-person academic coaching, online academic coaching, and control. All participants completed a pre- and post-test instrument that included the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI; Schraw & Dennison, 1994). Results showed that students who received academic coaching had increased metacognition as measured by MAI subscales. Increases in metacognitive awareness occurred in both the in-person and online academic coaching conditions. However, repeated measures ANOVAs did not reveal differences between the three conditions. Overall preliminary results suggest that academic coaching may be a promising student support intervention for helping develop college students’ metacognition outside of the classroom environment.

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This research is part of the Finish Line Project (P116F140018; Panter, PI; Demetriou, Executive Director), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s “First in the World” grant program.

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Correspondence to Marc Alan Howlett.

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Howlett, M.A., McWilliams, M.A., Rademacher, K. et al. Investigating the Effects of Academic Coaching on College Students’ Metacognition. Innov High Educ (2021).

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  • Academic coaching
  • Higher education
  • Metacognition
  • Student support