The Metacognitive Checklist: How Good is Your School's Metacognition Provision?

Updated: Jun 15, 2019

The following checklist is a simple way of analysing and evaluating your school's strengths and weaknesses in terms of metacognition. If you wish to go through this checklist on paper or discuss it with your colleagues, you may prefer to download and print our easy-print version of the checklist here.

  1. All students learn about metacognition and metacognitive strategies at some point through assemblies.

  2. Provisions for form/tutor-time activities include work on metacognition & metacognitive strategies.

  3. All departments use exam-wrappers before and after practice exam papers and mock exams.

  4. All departments use 'Personal Learning Checklists' that allow students to monitor and evaluate their subject-knowledge strengths and weaknesses in individual subjects.

  5. Students engage in at-least a small amount of metacognition in every lesson.

  6. The school's PSHE (Health Education) provision includes materials relating to the care and maintenance of healthy brain-growth and neurological development (e.g. how diet/exercise can impact learning-power).

  7. Students are given 'Dedicated Improvement & Reflection Time' (DIRT) opportunities and materials in all subjects on a regular basis; teachers have access to DIRT worksheets/resources and make good use of them.

  8. Students are taught to directly monitor their thoughts, emotions and learning-processes through mindfulness and/or meditation.

  9. Students are taught how to regulate their thoughts and emotions so as to maximise both mental-health and learning-power.

  10. Students are regularly encouraged to engage in debates and discussions about how they learn best and how, in general, to maximise learning-power.

  11. Students are taught about educational theories and pedagogical ideas and engage with them on a critical level, connecting them to their own learning-journey. Examples include: 'Growth Mindset', 'Learning Styles' (despite their controversy) & Higher-Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).

  12. In each subject students play a role in setting their own targets for improvement following analysis and evaluation of their progress. Student-directed goal-setting occurs in all subjects.

  13. Our school features displays and posters about metacognition, learning-power and other useful pedagogical ideas so that students may learn about them and reflect upon them.

  14. Students in our school are encouraged to explore the role of emotion in their learning-journey: they are taught to identify helpful and problematic emotions and how to manage them effectively.

  15. Students are taught about (and utilise) memory devices such as mnemonics and mind-palaces.

  16. Students are taught various ways that they can increase their intelligence, memory and concentration over time. Likewise, they know what factors can weaken these metacognitive powers over time.

  17. All teachers have undergone CPD that focuses on metacognition and metacognitive strategies.

  18. Our school places a strong emphasis on transferable study-skills and teaches students how to develop new study skills that can build learning-power (e.g. research skills, organisational skills, or mind-mapping skills).

  19. Students are encouraged to reflect on which learning and revision activities actually help them learn and are given a degree of choice about which learning-activities they engage in.

  20. Metacognition 'Personal Reflection Worksheets' are used in an organised, regular and consistent way to ensure students engage in metacognitive reflection and build metacognitive awareness.

  21. Our school has a well-organised and rigorously applied whole-school strategy to boost metacognition in all subjects.

  22. Our school has a 'Head of Metacognition', 'Metacognition Coordinator', or some such role whereby metacognition continually developed and improved upon across the school.

  23. Teachers have easy access to a shared-drive containing comprehensive metacognition resources.

  24. Teachers use questioning to foster metacognition in every lesson.

  25. Our school places a strong emphasis on both peer-assessment and self-assessment.

  26. Dialogue, rapport and communication between teachers and students is strong; in these dialogues students are steered towards metacognitive reflection and helped to gain insights into how they can enhance their learning-power.

  27. Most students in this school would be able to give at least a basic definition of what 'metacognition' is because they have been explicitly taught about metacognition and metacognitive strategies.

  28. Students are encouraged to think critically and with philosophical depth in relation to their own learning, education and performance in school. At some point they explore fundamental philosophical questions (perhaps via a P4C [Philosophy for Children] remit) that relate to metacognition such as "What is knowledge?", "What is the difference between knowledge and belief?" and "What is the purpose of education?"

  29. Teachers frequently model metacognitive strategies, pro-learning lifestyles and attitudes, and metacognition for students. For example, teachers might model the use of metacognition by talking through problems so that students can learn how to use higher-order thinking strategies by listening as you problem solve aloud.

  30. Special provisions and interventions exist to help students with particularly poor metacognitive development. Moreover, the school's Special Educational Needs (SEN) provisions emphasise metacognition when working with students with special educational needs.