Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Brock S. Allen, PhD; Jerome J. Ammer, PhD; Marcie J. Bober, PhD; John Watson, PhD


children & youth, education, elementary schools, embedded metacognitive prompts, fifth grade students, gender, incentive, Inventory of Metacognitive Self-Regulation--ISMR, metacognitive ability, multimedia lesson, online tutorial, student awareness


In a study he called The Effect of Embedded Metacognitive Cues and Probes on Use of Learner Control Features in an On-line Lesson for Elementary Students, Watson (2001) found that minimal prompting by an online tutorial increased 5th grade students’ comprehension of how much they understood. While Watson’s findings demonstrated a significant difference in the ability of prompted and non-prompted students to accurately predict their own performance on posttests, actual scores were not greater than those of control students until the results were analyzed by gender. The purpose of this study was to replicate and extend Watson’s study to determine if the gender differences illuminated in the original study were replicable. The extension was of two parts. The first called for administration of the Inventory of Metacognitive Self-Regulation (IMSR). The IMSR determines a student’s unassisted level of metacognitive ability—his or her metacognitive trait level. While Watson’s data collection looked only at students’ momentary awareness of their own metacognition, the IMSR is a more refined measure of metacognition and allowed for additional analysis. The second called for examination of how students interpret the metacognitive prompt pages. Watson found some evidence of gender differences in performance on the posttest, very possibly because boys and girls interpreted the prompts differently. The researcher added an experimental group and subjects were given a small incentive to do well on the posttest. The hypothesis was that the incentive would entice the boys to stay more focused on the task of scoring well on the posttest, instead of exploring the tutorial’s user-control features. The researcher administered the online tutorial to 147 fifth grade students at one of three different elementary schools. A multiple linear regression showed that all students predicted moderately well, with those in the prompted group not predicting any more accurately than students in the control group. Other statistics calculated yielded non-significant results. Post-hoc analysis showed students scored significantly different on the two posttest measures, although this was not true in the original study. While Watson’s original findings were not supported, the questions he raised about whether metacognitive prompts increase metacognitive awareness and possible gender differences in prompt interpretation are valid questions worth pursuing in future research.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access