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

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The term ‘independent learning’ is widely used in UK professional and policy documents, and so was adopted for this study, which was funded by Cambridgeshire Local Education Authority. Within the project this term was treated as synonymous with self-regulated learning.

  2. 2.

    The UK Foundation Stage is the first stage of state education, covering the age groups of 3-5 years.

References

  1. Annevirta, T., & Vauras, M. (2001). Metacognitive knowledge in primary grades: a longitudinal study. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 16, 257–282.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bakeman, R. (2000). Behavioural observation and coding. In H. T. Reis, & C. M. Judd (Eds.), Handbook of research in social and personalty psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J. M. (1997). Observing Interaction, 2nd Ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Biemiller, A., & Meichenbaum, D. (1998). Nuturing independent learners: Helping students to take charge of their learning. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Blair, C., & Razza, R. P. (2007). Relating effortful control, executive function, and false belief understanding to emerging math and literacy abilities in kindergarten. Child Development, 78, 647–663.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Blöte, A. W., Resing, W. C. M., Mazer, P., & Van Noort, D. A. (1999). Young children’s organizational strategies on a same—different task: a microgenetic study and a training study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 74, 21–43. doi:10.1006/jecp.1999.2508.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Boekaerts, M. (1999). Self-regulated learning: where we are today. International Journal of Educational Research, 31, 445–457. doi:10.1016/S0883-0355(99)00014-2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bronson, M. B. (2000). Self-regulation in early childhood. New York: The Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Brooker, L. (1996). Why do children go to school?: consulting children in the reception class. Early Years, 17(1), 12–16.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Brown, A. L. (1987). Metacognition, executive control, self-regulation and other more mysterious mechanisms. In F. E. Weinert, & R. H. Kluwe (Eds.), Metacognition, motivation and understanding (pp. 65–116). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Brown, R., Pressley, M., Van Meter, P., & Schuder, T. (1996). A quasi-experimental validation of transactional strategies instruction with low achieving second-grade readers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 18–37. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.88.1.18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Clark, E. V. (1978). Strategies for communication. Child Development, 49, 953–959. doi:10.2307/1128734.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Corno, L. (2001). Volitional aspects of self-regulated learning. In B. J. Zimmerman, & D. J. Schunk (Eds.), Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical perspectives(2nd ed.). Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Cultice, J. C., Somerville, S. C., & Wellman, H. M. (1983). Preschoolers’ memory monitoring: Feeling of knowing. Child Development, 54, 1480–1486. doi:10.2307/1129810.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Deloache, J. S., Sugarman, S., & Brown, A. L. (1985). The development of error correction strategies in young children’s manipulative play. Child Development, 56, 125–137. doi:10.2307/1130180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Dignath, C., Buettner, G., & Langfeldt, H.-P. (2008). How can primary school students learn self-regulated learning strategies most effectively? a meta-analysis of self-regulation training programmes. Educational Research Review, 3(2), 101–129.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Efklides, A. (2006). Metacognition and affect: what can metacognitive experiences tell us about the learning process? Educational Research Review, 1, 3–14. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2005.11.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Elias, C. L., & Berk, L. E. (2002). Self-regulation in young children: is there a role for sociodramatic play? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 17(2), 216–238. doi:10.1016/S0885-2006(02)00146-1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Featherstone, S., & Bayley, R. (2001) Foundations of Independence. Featherstone Education

  20. Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: a new area of cognitive developmental inquiry. The American Psychologist, 34, 906–911. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.34.10.906.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Flavell, J. H. (1987). Speculations about the nature and development of metacognition. In F. E. Weinert, & R. H. Kluwe (Eds.), Metacognition, motivation and understanding. London: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Flavell, J. H., Beach, D. R., & Chinsky, J. M. (1966). Spontaneous verbal rehearsal in a memory task as a function of age. Child Development, 37, 283–299. doi:10.2307/1126804.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Fitzsimmons, G. M., & Bargh, J. A. (2004). Automatic Self-regulation. In R.F. Baumeister, & K.D. Vohs (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation: research, theory and applications. NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Garner, R. (1988). Verbal-report data on cognitive and metacognitive strategies. In C. E. Weinstein, E. T. Goetz, & P. A. Alexander (Eds.), Learning and study strategies: issues in assessment, instruction and evaluation. San Diego: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Gioia, G. A., Isquith, P. K., Guy, S. C., & Kenworthy, L. (2000). Behaviour rating of executive function. Florida, USA: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Goldin-Meadow, S. (2002). Constructing communication by hand. Cognitive Development, 17, 1385–1405.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Goldman, R., Pea, R., Barron, B., & Derry, S. J. (Eds.). (2007) Video research in the learning Sciences. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  28. Hattie, J. A., Biggs, J., & Purdie, N. (1996). Effects of learning skills interventions on student learning: a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66, 99–136.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Iiskala, T., Vauras, M., & Lehtinen, E. (2004). Socially shared metacognition in peer-learning? Hellenic Journal of Psychology, 1, 147–178.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Istomina, Z. M. (1975). The development of voluntary memory in preschool age children. Social Psychology, 13, 5–64.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Justice, E. (1986). Developmental changes of relative strategy effectiveness. The British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 4, 75–81.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Karpov, Y. V. (2005). The neo-vygotskian approach to child development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Kreutzer, M. A., Leonard, S. C., & Flavell, J. H. (1975). An interview study of children’s knowledge about memory. Monographs of the society for research in child development, 40(1). doi:10.2307/1165955.

  34. Mitchell, L., Wylie, C., & Carr, M. (2008). Outcomes of early childhood education: Literature review. New Zealand: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Moyles, J., Paterson, F., & Kitson, N. (2003). It wasn’t as bad as i thought! learning from reflective dialogues. In J. Moyles, et al. (Ed.), Interactive teaching in the primary school. Maidenhead, Berks: Open University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Nelson, T. O., & Narens, L. (1994). Why Investigate Metacognition. In J. Metcalfe, & A. P. Shimamura (Eds.), Metacognition: Knowing about knowing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231–259. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.84.3.231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Palincsar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1, 117–175. doi:10.1207/s1532690xci0102_1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Pape, S. J., & Wang, C. (2003). Middle school children’s strategic behaviour: classification and relation to academic achievement and mathematical problem solving. Instructional Science, 31, 419–449. doi:10.1023/A:1025710707285.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Perels, F., Merget-Kullmann, M., Wende, M., Schmitz, B., & Buchbinder, C. (2008). Improving self-regulated learning of pre-school children: Evaluation of training for kindergarten teachers. The British Journal of Educational Psychology.

  41. Perry, N. (1998). Young children’s self-regulated learning and contexts that support it. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(4), 715–729. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.90.4.715.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Perry, N., Vandekamp, K. O., Mercer, L. K., & Nordby, C. J. (2002). Investigating teacher-student interactions that foster self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 37, 5–15.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Pine, K. J., Lufkin, N., & Messer, D. (2004). More gestures than answers: children learning about balance. Developmental Psychology, 40(6), 1059–1067. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.40.6.1059.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Pino Pasternak, D. (2006). Analysing parent-child interactions during study-related activities and their impact on children’s self-regulated learning. Paper presented at the second meeting of the EARLI SIG 16: Metacognition, University of Cambridge, U.K.

  45. Pintrich, P. R. (2002). The role of metacognitive knowledge in learning, teaching and assessing. Theory into Practice, 41, 219–225. doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4104_3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Reder, L. M. (Ed.). (1996) Implicit memory and metacognition. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  47. Ponitz, C. E. C., McClelland, M. M., Jewkes, A. M., Connor, C. M., Farris, C. L., & Morrison, F. J. (2008). Touch your toes! Developing a direct measure of behavioral regulation in early childhood. Early childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 141–158.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Reder, L. M. (Ed.). (1996) Implicit memory and metacognition. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  49. Rothbart, M. K., Ahadi, S. A., Hershey, K. L., & Fisher, P. (2001). Investigations of temperament at three to 7 years: the children’s behaviour questionnaire. Child Development, 72(5), 1394–1408. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00355.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Rothbart, M. K., Posner, M. I., & Kieras, J. (2006). Temperament, attention and the development of self-regulation. In K. McCartney, & D. Phillips (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of early childhood development. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Ruffman, T., Garnham, W., Import, A., & Connoly, D. (2001). Does eye gaze indicate implicit knowledge of false belief? Charting transitions in knowledge. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 80, 201–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Schneider, W., & Lockl, K. (2002). The development of metacognitive knowledge in children and adolescents. In T. J. Perfect, & B. L. Schwartz (Eds.), Applied Metacognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Schneider, W., & Pressley, M. (1997). Memory development between two and twenty (2nd ed.). Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (1994). Self-regulation of learning and performance. Hillsdale, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Siegler, R. S. (1996). Emerging minds: the processes of change in children’s thinking. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Son, L. K., & Schwartz, B. L. (2002). The relation between metacognitive monitoring and control. In T. J. Perfect, & B. L. Schwartz (Eds.), Applied metacognition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Sylva, K., & Wiltshire, J. (1993). ‘The impact of early learning on children’s later development: a review prepared for the RSA inquiry ‘Start Right’ ’. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 1, 17–40. doi:10.1080/13502939385207331.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Sylva, K., Melhuish, E. C., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Taggart, B. (2004). The effective provision of pre-school education (EPPE) Project: Technical paper 12the final report: Effective pre-school education. London: DfES/Institute of Education, University of London.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Thorpe, K. J., & Satterly, D. J. H. (1990). The development and inter-relationship of metacognitive components among primary school children. Educational Psychology, 10, 5–21. doi:10.1080/0144341900100102.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Vauras, M., Iiskala, T., Kajamies, A., Kinnunen, R., & Lehtinen, E. (2003). Shared regulation and motivation of collaborating peers: a case analysis. Psychologia: An International Journal of Psychology in the Orient, 46, 19–37. doi:10.2117/psysoc.2003.19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Veenman, M. V. J. (2005). The assessment of metacognitive skills: What can be learned from multi-method designs. In C. Artelt, & B. Moschner (Eds.), Lernstrategien und Metakognition: Implikationen für Forschung und Praxis. Berlin: Waxmann.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Veenman, M. V. J., & Spaans, M. A. (2005). Relation between intellectual and metacognitive skills: age and task differences. Learning and Individual Differences, 15, 159–176. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2004.12.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Veenman, M. V. J., Van Hout-Wolters, B. H. A. M., & Afflerbach, P. (2006). Metacognition and learning: conceptual and methodological considerations. Metacognition and Learning, 1, 3–14. doi:10.1007/s11409-006-6893-0.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Wang, M. C., Haertel, G. D., & Walberg, H. J. (1990). What influences learning? a content analysis of review literature. The Journal of Educational Research, 84, 30–43.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Weinert, , & Schneider, W. (1999). Individual development from 3 to 12: Findings from the Munich Longitudinal Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Whitebread, D. (1999). Interactions between children’s metacognitive processes, working memory, choice of strategies and performance during problem-solving. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 14(4), 489–507.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Whitebread, D., Anderson, H., Coltman, P., Page, C., Pino Pasternak, D., & Mehta, S. (2005a). Developing independent learning in the early years. Education, 3–13(33), 40–50.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Whitebread, D., Coltman, P., Anderson, H., Mehta, S., & Pino Pasternak, D. (2005b). Metacognition in young children: Evidence from a naturalistic study of 3–5 year olds. Paper presented at 11th EARLI international conference, University of Nicosia, Cyprus.

  71. Whitebread, D., Bingham, S., Grau, V., Pino Pasternak, D., & Sangster, C. (2007). Development of metacognition and self-regulated learning in young children: the role of collaborative and peer-assisted learning. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 3, 433–455.

    Google Scholar 

  72. Winne, P. H., & Perry, N. E. (2000). Measuring self-regulated learning. In P. Pintrich, M. Boekaerts, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  73. Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In P. Pintrich, M. Boekaerts, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  74. Zimmerman, B. J., & Martinez-Pons, M. (1986). Development of a structural interview for assessing student use of self-regulated learning strategies. American Educational Research Journal, 23, 614–628.

    Google Scholar 

  75. Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (2001). Self-regluated learning and academic achievement (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Whitebread.

Appendices

Appendix 1

C.Ind.Le Coding Scheme: Verbal and Nonverbal Indicators of Metacognition and Self-Regulation in 3- to 5-Year-Olds

Category name Description of behavior Examples
Metacognitive knowledge
Knowledge of persons
A verbalization demonstrating the explicit expression of one’s knowledge in relation to cognition or people as cognitive processors. It might include knowledge about cognition in relation to: Refers to his/her own strengths or difficulties in learning and academic working skills I can write my name
- Self: Refers to own capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, or academic/task preferences; comparative judgments about own abilities Refers to others’ strengths or difficulties in learning and academic working skills I can count backwards
- Others: Refers to others’ processes of thinking or feeling toward cognitive tasks Talks about general ideas about learning I dont know how to sing the song
- Universals: Refers to universals of people’s cognition   
Knowledge of tasks
A verbalization demonstrating the explicit expression of one’s own long-term memory knowledge in relation to elements of the task. Compares across tasks identifying similarities and differences They need to put their boots on. And when they put their boots on, they dig a hole
  Makes a judgment about the level of difficulty of cognitive tasks or rates the tasks on the basis of pre-established criteria or previous knowledge  
Knowledge of strategies
A verbalization demonstrating the explicit expression of one’s own knowledge in relation to strategies used or performing a cognitive task, where a strategy is a cognitive or behavioral activity that is employed so as to enhance performance or achieve a goal. Defines, explains or teaches others how she/he has done or learned something We don’t need to use the sticky tape, we can use the glue
  Explains procedures involved in a particular task You have to point it up this end so that it is going to grow
  Evaluates the effectiveness of one or more strategies in relation to the context or the cognitive task.  
Metacognitive regulation
Planning
Any verbalization or behaviour related to the selection of procedures necessary for performing the task, individually or with others Sets or clarifies task demands and expectations Im going to make a big circle
  Sets goals and targets I know… me and Harry could be the knights and you could be the peasant
  Allocates individual roles and negotiates responsibilities Child compares two objects before deciding which to use on task
  Decides on ways of proceeding with the task  
  Seeks and collects necessary resources  
Monitoring
Any verbalization or behaviour related to the ongoing on-task assessment of the quality of task performance (of self or others) and the degree to which performance is progressing towards a desired goal Self- commentates I think weve got one left
  Reviews progress on task (keeping track of procedures currently being undertaken and those that have been done so far) This bit doesnt fit anywhere
  Rates effort on-task or rates actual performance Hang on, weve got it a bit wrong here
  Rates or makes comments on currently memory retrieval Child stops mid-way through an action (placing puzzle piece), pauses and re-directs action to place it somewhere else
  Checks behaviors or performance, including detection of errors  
  Self-corrects  
  Checks and/or corrects performance of peer  
Control
Any verbalization or behaviour related to a change in the way a task had been conducted (by self or others), as a result of cognitive monitoring Changes strategies as a result of previous monitoring Lets have a practice
  Suggests and uses strategies in order to solve the task more effectively Can you help me do it?
  Applies a previously learnt strategy to a new situation Child points to spots on a die as he counts
  Repeats a strategy in order to check the accuracy of the outcome Child looks at a physical model (example: word on whiteboard) repeatedly while completing a task
  Seeks help Child points at computer screen or interactive whiteboard to indicate where another child should click the mouse
  Uses nonverbal gesture as a strategy to support own cognitive activity  
  Copies from or imitates a model  
  Helps or guides another child using gesture  
Evaluation Reviews own learning or explains the task Hes done really well
Any verbalization or behaviour related to reviewing task performance and evaluating the quality of performance (by self or others). Evaluates the strategies used We learnt how to cut, and how to stick things together
  Rates the quality of performance Child rotates scissors in hands while opening and closing them before initiating cutting activity
  Observes or comments on task progress  
  Tests the outcome or effectiveness of a strategy in achieving a goal  
Emotional and motivational regulation
Emotional/motivational monitoring
Any verbalization or behaviour related to the assessment of current emotional and motivational experiences regarding the task    
  Express awareness of positive or negative emotional experience of a task That wasn’t very nice
  Monitors own emotional reactions while being on a task It’s a bit sad
   I don’t want to be a peasant
Emotional/ motivational control    
Any verbalization or behaviour related to the regulation of one’s emotional and motivational experiences while on task Controls attention and resists distraction or returns to task after momentary distraction Mine is going to be a lovely one
  Self-encourages or encourages others Child looks towards activity of others in the classroom, then re-focuses on task at hand and resumes activity
  Persists in the face of difficulty or remains in task without help  

Appendix 2

Checklist of Independent Learning Development (CHILD) 3–5

Name of child: ___________________ Teacher: ______________________

Date: _______________ School/setting: ___________________________

 

  Always Usually Sometimes Never Comment
Emotional      
Can speak about own and others behaviour and consequences      
Tackles new tasks confidently      
Can control attention and resist distraction      
Monitors progress and seeks help appropriately      
Persists in the face of difficulties      
ProSocial      
Negotiates when and how to carry out tasks      
Can resolve social problems with peers      
Shares and takes turns independently      
Engages in independent cooperative activities with peers      
Is aware of feelings of others and helps and comforts      
Cognitive      
Is aware of own strengths and weaknesses      
Can speak about how they have done something or what they have learnt      
Can speak about future planned activities      
Can make reasoned choices and decisions      
Asks questions and suggests answers      
Uses previously taught strategies      
Adopts previously heard language for own purposes      
Motivational      
Finds own resources without adult help      
Develops own ways of carrying out tasks      
Initiates activities      
Plans own tasks, targets and goals      
Enjoys solving problems      

Other comments:

Appendix 3

Vignettes of event coding

A. Filling The Digger

Individual activity: No adult

Ellie is sitting in a small, carpeted area of the classroom. The area is resourced with a number of toy vehicles and some open boxes of play materials including ‘small world’ materials and wooden blocks. As the observation starts, Ellie is holding a large toy vehicle. It is an excavator, or digger, with a bucket mechanism in front of the driver’s cab.

The following table presents an account of Ellie’s activity and its analysis.

 

Observed Activity Analysis
Ellie reaches to the box of wooden blocks and selects two small cubes. She places the blocks in the digger’s bucket. As a choice of play materials is available, the reaching to the box of blocks suggests a purposeful choice linked to a planned activity.
  Planning: seeking and collecting necessary resources
As a third block is added, the digger tips forwards, spilling all the blocks from the bucket. Ellie rights the vehicle and starts to refill the bucket.  
After putting three small cubes into the bucket, the digger starts to tip again. Ellie steadies the toy with a hand, but one block spills from the bucket. The action of steadying the digger whilst adding blocks is a new strategy suggestive of a response to the previous spillage.
  Control: Changing from one strategy to another on task
Ellie picks up the spilled cube and places it between the bucket and the cab of the digger. The selection of a new position for the blocks is a departure from the previous strategy of placing them in the bucket.
  Control: Changing from one strategy to another on task
As more blocks are added, the digger tips forwards again. Ellie pauses and looks at the digger. This pause combined with eye gaze in the direction of the toy indicates observation of the task element or consideration of task progress.
  Reflection/Evaluation: careful observation of progress of task performance or component
After righting the toy, Ellie places two blocks between the bucket and cab.  
With one hand remaining on the digger, Ellie pauses and looks around the classroom apparently watching the activities of other children, before returning attention to the digger Although there is a passing interest in the surrounding activity, the return to engagement with the task is indicative of a motivational self-regulation.
  Regulation of motivation: returns to task after distraction
She rolls the digger forwards on the carpet, watching the digger as she does so. The focus of gaze during this activity suggests elements of evaluation of the loading strategy.
  Reflection/evaluation: Testing the outcome of a strategy in achieving a goal

B. Finding a place for the card Event P30

Collaborative small group. No adult. Problem solving

A group of six girls are playing a lotto game. Each child has a game board divided into six squares each with a different image. Individual picture cards in a central pack are taken in turn, and children match these to the images on their boards.

 

Observed activity Analysis
Hannah: leaning towards Nalini and looking at the card she is holding. Although the phrasing of this statement suggests that some unknown strategy is being drawn upon to support the assertion, the confident analysis of the interaction is that one child is helping another to complete a task.
You should have that one. Control and regulation: Helps or guides another child
Nalini holds her card by one corner and moves it around her board, she looks repeatedly and alternately at the card and board. The movement of the card around the board indicates an extended process of checking. This inference is supported by the pattern of eye gaze.
  Monitoring: Checks performance
A\s she finds a match she places the card in position on the board, looks up to Hannah and smiles. The non-verbal communication of the smile indicates an awareness of a pleasure in the successful completion of the matching task.
  Emotional/motivational monitoring: Expresses awareness of positive emotional experience

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Whitebread, D., Coltman, P., Pasternak, D.P. et al. The development of two observational tools for assessing metacognition and self-regulated learning in young children. Metacognition Learning 4, 63–85 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11409-008-9033-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Metacognitive development
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Observational methods
  • Young children