A Teacher's Guide: The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI)

You can download The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory freely here. The language of its 52 questions is simple enough to make it suitable for most students older than 12.

As a teacher, The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory is a fantastic way to gauge the levels of metacognitive awareness in your students and foster metacognitive reflection in them. As a school, The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory is an excellent way to quantify, analyse and monitor levels of metacognition across your school. Schools may wish to target specific students for interventions that focus on metacognition and metacognitive development: The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory is an excellent way to objectively determine which students are most in need of interventions.

The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory includes a "scoring card" allowing students to analyse and evaluate different aspects of their metacognitive awareness. Some of the more difficult terms are explained.

Ideas for Using The MAI in Classroom Practice

The following are some general ideas as to how a teacher could use The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory in their lessons

  • Use it as a starter or end-of-lesson metacognitive reflection activity to foster metacognitive reflection, monitoring and regulation.

  • Consider adding your own activities that are based around the MAI, for example: getting students to rank those statements they marked 'False' in terms of which are the most important for effective learning.

  • It could be used prior to use of a metacognitive reflection worksheet; using these two resources together will make the metacognitive process much deeper and allow the student to process what they've learn from The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory

  • The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory, once completed, could be used as a (admittedly unusual) P4C prompt and serve as the basis for more generalised discussions and debates about metacognition and how to learn most effectively.

  • Always have students express what they have learnt about themselves from using The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory. Ideally, students should be able to create clear targets for improvement based on the MAI; moreover, students should be able to express new Metacognitive Knowledge about their own strengths and weaknesses as learners.

  • The inventory contains useful information about what makes a reflective learner with high levels of metacognitive awareness, it is a list of potential strategies and approaches that students could adopt: consider having students use the MAI as source material in more typical learning-activities (e.g. "create a poster/leaflet about two students: one who has mastered metacognition and one who has absolutely no Metacognitive Awareness whatsoever")

  • It can be a good idea to collect students' self-reported scores in case any obvious needs for intervention can be ascertained from them.

Whole-School Use of The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory

From the perspective of school leadership team members hoping to use The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory, some potential applications include:

  • Using quantitative data collected from the inventory to analyse current levels of metacognitive awareness in the student-body: by analysing data using the 'scoring card' factors as detailed in the inventory leadership can understand clearly what the focus of future-efforts needs to be

  • Incorporate The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory into your school's progress-tracking and data-monitoring provisions

  • Using the inventory to assess the impact of specific interventions that are aiming to raise metacognitive awareness or to evaluate the success of a Whole-School Metacognition Initiative

Recommended Accompanying Resources

Our Metacognition Worksheet Collection includes a wide selection of metacognitive reflection worksheets teachers might use alongside The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory: it includes over 30 worksheets, giving students plenty of variety over the course of the academic year. Have a look here!