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The influence of summary modality on metacomprehension accuracy

Abstract

Metacomprehension refers to the ability to monitor and control reading comprehension. It is important for individuals to be accurate in their judgments of comprehension, as this can affect academic performance. One type of accuracy, relative accuracy, tends to be low, meaning individuals cannot adequately differentiate well-known from less well-known information. Fortunately, past research has shown that relative accuracy increases with delayed summarization. The literature has only assessed written summaries as an intervention, but oral summaries tend to be faster and easier and therefore may be a better study tool. Individuals use cues to make judgments, which may differ between modalities. This study investigated whether modality impacts relative accuracy and if differences in cue use might explain these effects. We found that written summaries benefitted relative accuracy compared to a control group, with relative accuracy greater than chance. In contrast, oral summarizers only marginally differed from chance accuracy and did not differ from the control group. An analysis of summary characteristics suggests that participants use multiple cues in order to make judgments. We conclude that spoken summaries are likely better than not summarizing at all, but the written modality is the better summary technique to increase relative accuracy. By increasing relative accuracy, delayed written summaries may increase effectiveness of studying, thereby maximizing a student’s academic potential.

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Madison, E.M., Fulton, E.K. The influence of summary modality on metacomprehension accuracy. Metacognition Learning (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11409-021-09277-5

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Keywords

  • Metacomprehension
  • Summary modality
  • Relative accuracy
  • Situation model hypothesis
  • Accessibility hypothesis