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Metacognition: The Key to Increasing Diversity in STEM Disciplines Saundra Yancy McGuire, Ph.D., Asst. Vice Chancellor Professor of Chemistry Louisiana.

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Presentation on theme: "Metacognition: The Key to Increasing Diversity in STEM Disciplines Saundra Yancy McGuire, Ph.D., Asst. Vice Chancellor Professor of Chemistry Louisiana."— Presentation transcript:

1 Metacognition: The Key to Increasing Diversity in STEM Disciplines Saundra Yancy McGuire, Ph.D., Asst. Vice Chancellor Professor of Chemistry Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA

2 Barriers to Minority Student Success Usually Less Prepared Few Role Models in Community Family Pressures Lack of Community of Peers on Campus Stereotype Threat

3 The Barriers CAN Be Overcome… by using appropriate strategies

4 Dana, first year physics student 80, 54, 91, 97, 90 (final) Problem: Memorizing formulas and using Solution: Solve problems with no external aids and test mastery of concepts

5 LSU Analytical Chemistry Graduate Student’s Cumulative Exam Record 2004 – /04 Failed 10/04Failed 11/04Failed 12/04Failed 1/05Passed 2/05Failed 3/05Failed 4/05Failed 2005 – /05Passed 11/05Failed 12/05Passed best in group 1/06Passed 2/06Passed 3/06Failed 4/06Passed last one! 5/06N/A Began work with CAS and the Writing Center in October 2005

6 Dr. Algernon Kelley, December 2009

7 Oct. 17, 2011 Hello Dr. Kelley. … I am struggling at Xavier and I REALLY want to succeed, but everything I've tried seems to end with a "decent" grade. I’m not the type of person that settles for decent. What you preached during the time you were in Dr. Privett's class last week is still ringing in my head. I really want to know how you were able to do really well even despite your circumstances growing up. I was hoping you could mentor me and guide me down the path that will help me realize my true potential while here at Xavier. Honestly I want to do what you did, but I seriously can't find a way how to. Can I please set up a meeting with you as soon as you’re available so I can learn how to get a handle grades and classes? Oct. 24, 2011 Hey Dr. Kelley, I made an 84 on my chemistry exam (compared to the 56 on my first one) using your method for 2 days (without prior intense studying). Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I’ll come by your office Friday and talk to you about the test. Nov 3, 2011 Hey Dr. Kelley! I have increased my Bio exam grade from a 76% to a 91.5% using your system. Ever since I started your study cycle program, my grades have significantly improved. I have honestly gained a sense of hope and confidence here at Xavier. My family and I are really grateful that you have taken time to get me back on track. From a Xavier University student to Dr. Kelley in Fall 2011

8 R ESEARCH S CHOLARS P ROGRAM Louisiana State University 213 Hatcher Hall LA-STEM Office of Strategic Initiatives

9 To increase diversity in STEM areas at the undergraduate and graduate levels To provide a supportive and motivating environment for students which promotes academic success through mentoring, education, and research Office of Strategic Initiatives M ISSION & V ISION

10 LA-STEM Research Scholars:  Receive preparation for research as freshmen  Begin working in a research lab by their sophomore year  Choose a research mentor to offer guidance and support  Participate in summer research programs nationwide and internationally  Have the option to select a major research project and write a senior thesis Mentoring Success through….. ResearchEducation Office of Strategic Initiatives

11 LA-STEM SCHOLARS Office of Strategic Initiatives Percentage of total Scholars Served by Ethnicity &Gender: Asian/Pacific Islander American Indian BlackHispanicWhite S IX -Y EAR G RADUATION R ATES IN STEM *LA-STEM Research Scholars Program Highly Selective Institutions Louisiana State University Selective Institutions Moderately Selective Institutions All 92.3% 49.6%34.4%37.6%28.0% Male 96.0% 50.0%38.4%39.2%28.5% Female 90.2% 46.7%29.0%34.6%27.2% Black 92.3% 33.0%26.7%24.6%12.5% Office of Strategic Initiatives

12 Scholars receive tools for success in undergraduate & graduate school:  Differences between high school and college  Refined problem-solving skills  Time management and organization  Enhanced interdisciplinary learning  Professional skills  Metacognitive abilities  Writing skills  Presentation skills  Graduate school preparation Mentoring Success through….. Research Education Office of Strategic Initiatives

13 Metacognition The ability to: think about thinking be consciously aware of oneself as a problem solver monitor and control one’s mental processing (e.g. “Am I understanding this material?”) accurately judge one’s level of learning

14 Effective Metacognitive Strategies Always ask why, how, and what if Use SQ5R for reading assignments (survey, question, read, recite, review, wRite, reflect) Test understanding by giving “mini lectures” on concepts Move higher on Bloom’s taxonomy Always solve problems without looking at an example or the solution Use the Study Cycle with Intense Study Sessions

15 Bloom’s Taxonomy Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001

16 Creating Evaluating Analyzing Applying Understanding Remembering Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing. Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing. Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing. Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining. Retrieving, recognizing, and recalling relevant knowledge from long-term memory. Bloom’s Taxonomy  Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure. Graduate School Undergraduate High School This pyramid depicts the different levels of thinking we use when learning. Notice how each level builds on the foundation that precedes it. It is required that we learn the lower levels before we can effectively use the skills above.

17 At what level of Bloom’s did you have to operate to make A’s or B’s in high school? 1. Knowledge 2. Comprehension 3. Application 4. Analysis 5. Synthesis 6. Evaluation

18 At what level of Bloom’s do you think you’ll need to be to make an A in Chem 1201? 1. Knowledge 2. Comprehension 3. Application 4. Analysis 5. Synthesis 6. Evaluation

19 Knowledge of Research on Metacognition and Mindset Greatly Increases Minority Student Success Meaningful Learning Rote Learning They are less likely to have been cognitively challenged in high school They are less likely to be encouraged to persist in their pursuit of a degree They are more likely to fall victim to stereotype threat They are more likely to experience the impact of a paradigm shift

20 Gabriel, Kathleen F. (2008) Teaching Unprepared Students. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing

21 Effective Strategies for Teaching Unprepared Students* Establish high expectations Emphasize Consistent Contact Determine Students’ Learning Styles Define Student Success Clarify Student Responsibility Establish a Learning Community of Scholars Meet Students Where They Are Interweave Assessment and Teaching *Kathleen Gabriel, Stylus Publishing, 2008

22 We can significantly increase minority student success We must help students overcome stereotype threat We must introduce them to successful students who can serve as role models We must teach students the learning process and specific strategies We must not judge student potential on initial performance We must encourage students to persist in the face of initial failure

23 Useful Websites Searches on

24 Additional References Bruer, John T., Schools For Thought: A Science of Learning in the Classroom. MIT Press. Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., Cocking, R.R. (Eds.), How people learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Cromley, Jennifer, Learning to Think, Learning to Learn: What the Science of Thinking and Learning Has to Offer Adult Education. Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy. Ellis, David, Becoming a Master Student*. New York: Houghton- Mifflin. McGuire, Saundra, Teaching Your Students HOW to Learn Chemistry. In D. Bunce and C. Muzzi (Eds.), Survival Handbook for the New Chemistry Instructor. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Nilson, Linda, Teaching at It’s Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company. Pierce, William, Metacognition: Study Strategies, Monitoring, and Motivation. *Excellent student reference


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