Metacognition and Learning

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 63–85 | Cite as

The development of two observational tools for assessing metacognition and self-regulated learning in young children

  • David WhitebreadEmail author
  • Penny Coltman
  • Deborah Pino Pasternak
  • Claire Sangster
  • Valeska Grau
  • Sue Bingham
  • Qais Almeqdad
  • Demetra Demetriou


This paper reports on observational approaches developed within a UK study to the identification and assessment of metacognition and self-regulation in young children in the 3–5 year age range. It is argued that the development of observational tools, although containing methodological difficulties, allows us to make more valid assessments of children’s metacognitive and self-regulatory abilities in this age group. The analysis of 582 metacognitive or self-regulatory videotaped ‘events’ is described, including the development of a coding framework identifying verbal and non-verbal indicators. The construction of an observational instrument, the Children’s Independent Learning Development (CHILD 3–5) checklist, is also reported together with evidence of the reliability with which it can be used by classroom teachers and early indications of its external validity as a measure of metacognition and self-regulation in young children. Given the educational significance of children’s development of metacognitive and self-regulatory skills, it is argued that the development of such an instrument is potentially highly beneficial. The establishment of the metacognitive and self-regulatory capabilities of young children by means of the kinds of observational tools developed within this study also has clear and significant implications for models and theories of metacognition and self-regulation. The paper concludes with a discussion of these implications.


Metacognitive development Self-regulated learning Observational methods Young children 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Whitebread
    • 1
    Email author
  • Penny Coltman
    • 1
  • Deborah Pino Pasternak
    • 2
  • Claire Sangster
    • 1
  • Valeska Grau
    • 1
  • Sue Bingham
    • 1
  • Qais Almeqdad
    • 1
  • Demetra Demetriou
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonEnglandUK

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