What is MetaCOG Online?
MetaCOG Online is an interactive executive function survey tool that highlights students’ perceptions of their use of planning, organizing, memorizing, shifting, and self-checking strategies. MetaCOG Online helps students develop an understanding of their learning profiles, including their executive function strengths and challenges. This self-understanding is the foundation for building students’ metacognitive awareness and using executive function strategies. This survey tool is based on the Metacognitive Awareness Assessment System (MetaCOG-R) surveys for students and teachers.
MetaCOG Online and Data-Driven Instruction
Data-driven instruction is important, but it can be challenging for teachers to collect and analyze valuable data in the classroom. MetaCOG Online provides information about students’ use of executive function strategies as well as their self-concept, perceived effort, and persistence. It is a convenient and practical tool that can be used to collect data on students’ EF strategy use at multiple points throughout the school year. The data can be used to customize whole-class instruction and/or personalize strategies for individual students.
Building Self-Understanding to Foster Interpersonal Connections
Self-reflection is essential for students to think metacognitively, understand their strengths and challenges, and begin to plan their future strategy use. Self-reflection is a key component of the MetaCOG Online process. Once students complete the survey and review their profiles, teachers are encouraged to build in time for independent student reflection or small-group/whole-class discussions. All teachers who participated in our Spring 2021 pilot agreed that the MetaCOG survey and EF Profiles provided rich material for one-on-one and group discussions. The discussions that arise from MetaCOG Online reflections can help students build their self-understanding, which is at the heart of developing a sense of identity and belonging. Promoting metacognition can help students develop the skills they need to create and maintain successful relationships.
Development of the Metacognitive Awareness Assessment System (MetaCOG-R)
MetaCOG-R was developed in 2004 as a criterion-referenced assessment system to compare students’, teachers’, and parents’ perceptions of students’ effort, strategy use, and academic performance (Meltzer, 2014; Meltzer, Katzir, et al., 2004; Meltzer, Reddy, Pollica, & Roditi, 2004; Meltzer, Reddy, Sales, et al., 2004; see also Meltzer, 2010). The MetaCOG-R surveys are used to promote students’ metacognitive awareness and build a classroom culture that helps students to understand their learning profiles.
Components of MetaCOG Online
MetaCOG Online currently features the Strategy Use Survey (STRATUS-R), which highlights students’ patterns of strategy use in their academic work.
The STRATUS-R consists of 30 items that assess students’ self-reported strategy use in reading, writing, spelling, math, studying, and test taking. Items focus on students’ perceptions of their use of planning, organizing, memorizing, shifting, and self-checking strategies.
Student EF Profile
Students receive a personalized EF profile that begins with a visual presentation of their executive function strength and challenges and a description of the impact of these EF processes on academic work as well as sports, the arts, and social-emotional behavior. Students are also provided with suggestions for building on their strengths and improving their areas of challenge and a list of suggested SMARTS lessons aligned with students’ areas of challenge.
Reflection upon strategy use is essential for students to build metacognition and strengthen their ability to apply EF strategies. The EF Profile Reflection Sheet can be used to extend students’ learning from the MetaCOG survey and to promote self-understanding. These worksheets offer students a chance to reflect on their areas of strength and challenge, make connections to their lives, and brainstorm ways they can leverage their strengths and improve. They can be used as independent work or to spark class discussions.
Each teacher can generate and download a summary of the findings for their entire class. The class profile includes an overview of each student’s strengths and challenges and the overall strength and challenge for the class. Within this profile, teachers can click on students’ names and directly view their individual profiles. A ranking of suggested SMARTS lessons aligned with class data is also included.
MetaCOG Online Case Studies
Using the extensive research that drove the development of the paper version of the MetaCOG-R, ResearchILD developed and piloted MetaCOG Online during the spring of 2021. We partnered with five schools and learning centers, 13 teachers, and 150 students to develop and refine the MetaCOG Online survey experience and accompanying resources. During our MetaCOG Online Fall 2021 Beta Pilot, we partnered with 24 schools and learning centers, 34 teachers, and nearly 1,000 students. ResearchILD also created a MetaCOG Online Student Ambassador Program to solicit feedback directly from a group of middle and high school students. If you would like to read more about the research behind MetaCOG and MetaCOG Online, please review our white paper.
Talking about MetaCOG Online
Students Talk About MetaCOG Online
I need to work on my memory for things such as assignments to help me get better grades in classes and not miss assignments. –6th grade student
I have the capacity to revise what I do to become a better learner! –10th grade student
I learned that I need to strengthen my ability to set goals. –6th grade student
Teachers Talk About MetaCOG Online
I would love to incorporate this on a regular basis. I would envision doing this at the beginning and end of each quarter. –6th grade teacher
This survey is critically important for teaching. If kids are lacking these skills…you’re not going to get to the learning part. –Intervention Specialist
…It’s such an important thing for students to understand…that executive function skills aren’t just academic skills, they’re life skills. –Learning Specialist
MetaCOG Online FAQs
Do I have to use SMARTS to use MetaCOG Online?
You don’t have to be a SMARTS user to use MetaCOG Online. Non-SMARTS users will still get a lot out of the executive function strengths and challenges sections of the profiles to spark conversations, guide students’ self-reflection, and tailor your instruction to meet students’ needs. Being a SMARTS user makes teaching so much easier as the MetaCOG Online profiles connect directly to SMARTS lessons. Consequently, MetaCOG Online is a powerful tool to combine with our SMARTS strategies.
I have the SMARTS (or hard copy) version of the MetaCOG, will I still have it?
Yes. Currently, SMARTS Secondary licenses come with PDF and Google Form versions of the ME-R, TPSE-R, and STRATUS-R surveys. SMARTS educators will still have access to these surveys, but beginning in July, 2022, we will no longer be offering color-coded data reports. Users will receive the raw data in spreadsheet form.
Do I get SMARTS lessons with my MetaCOG purchase?
SMARTS lessons are not included with your MetaCOG Online purchase, but you can purchase a package that includes both SMARTS and MetaCOG Online.
Do you collect, track, and/or monitor student and teacher data?
Protecting students’ identities and information is a priority for us. The SMARTS and MetaCOG Online websites operate on a secure Wordfence server, and we have SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates installed on our websites. These SSL certificates enable an encrypted connection between our secure server and a visitor’s web browser. We do not track any student data, and schools do not need to to provide students’ personally identifiable information (PII) in order to use our materials. When administering the survey, we ask that teachers remember to comply with their schools’ student data policies (e.g., some schools require the use of student ID numbers or initials instead of student names). Teachers are free to use initials, student ID numbers, full names, or any other identifier for their students. Once students complete the survey, it is stored in the backend of our online system, but we do not manipulate or use this data in any way.
How often can I give the survey in an academic year?
We recommend giving the survey one to three times in an academic year. In addition to pre- and post- measures, MetaCOG Online helps teachers select their instructional priorities by viewing a snapshot of each students’ EF strategy use.
Can MetaCOG be used by any teacher in any subject? Can MetaCOG be used in SPED and Gen. Ed. settings?
Yes, MetaCOG Online can be used across all subjects and settings with students in grades 5-12.
How can I measure growth?
To measure growth, it is essential to pair MetaCOG Online with ongoing strategy reflection. Once students have identified their areas of strength and challenge, you can set goals for EF strategy instruction in these areas. Ongoing reflection, using our accompanying student reflection sheets, should be analyzed to demonstrate whether students are developing an understanding of why strategies are important and how to apply these strategies in their everyday lives.
What is new about MetaCOG Online?
MetaCOG Online is an interactive executive function survey that highlights students’ perceptions of their use of planning, organizing, memorizing, shifting, and self-checking strategies. This new survey tool is based on the Metacognitive Awareness Assessment System (MetaCOG-R) surveys for students and teachers (Meltzer, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2018; Meltzer et al., 2019). Using extensive research from the previous version of the MetaCOG, formulae for calculating each student’s strengths and challenges were developed in late 2020. Each question was mapped to the three or four most relevant SMARTS lessons.
MetaCOG Online offers teachers a convenient and practical tool that can be used to collect data on students’ EF strategy use at multiple points throughout the school year. The data can be used to customize whole-class instruction and personalize strategies for individual students. Teachers receive a class report that displays the overall EF strengths and challenges for the students in their classes. The survey also results in a list of SMARTS lessons that target students’ challenges and the foundational EF strategies they need to succeed. In addition, all students receive individualized profiles of their EF strengths and challenges which helps them to understand how they can improve. Teachers receive a list of suggested lessons for each student so that they can personalize strategy instruction for individual students or small groups.
Does MetaCOG Online include all the MetaCOG surveys?
MetaCOG Online currently features the Strategy Use Survey (STRATUS-R). Once students complete the survey, they receive a personalized EF profile, and teachers receive a class profile and lesson recommendations. The Motivation and Effort (ME-R) and Teacher Perceptions of Student Effort (TPSE-R) surveys will be added to MetaCOG Online in 2023. Currently, all SMARTS users have access to the paper and Google form versions of all the surveys. While these versions are not scored and do not offer lesson recommendations, you can utilize the MetaCOG Interpretation guide to understand what your students’ responses mean.
Who was it tested with/designed for?
MetaCOG Online is designed for students ages 10 and up, in a range of educational settings. In 2021, ResearchILD launched two pilot studies to test MetaCOG Online with over 1,000 students, 38 teachers, and 29 schools and learning centers. For more information about the research behind MetaCOG and the spring 2021 pilot, please see our MetaCOG Online white paper.
Demographics of the Fall 2021 MetaCOG Online pilot:
- 54% public schools, 29% private schools, 13% learning centers, and 4% charter schools
- 62% high schools, 38% middle schools
- 54% diverse schools (A district is considered diverse when no one race constitutes more than 75 percent of the school system’s student body overall.)
- 86% low-poverty schools, 10% high-poverty schools, and 4% mid-low poverty schools
Is the information gathered available for other teachers or for parent meetings?
Absolutely. While MetaCOG Online is not a diagnostic tool, the information it provides about students’ strategy use and learning can inform parent conferences or IEP/504 meetings. Students’ survey profiles can also be shared with other teachers to ensure students receive adequate support across classes.
How is MetaCOG Online different from an assessment survey?
This research-based survey helps teachers to understand students’ views of their own effort, strategy use and academic performance. Further, MetaCOG Online helps teachers to understand their own views of their students’ strategy use and performance. When teachers can understand their students’ self-perceptions and compare their own views, they can more readily reach all students, teaching them to “learn how to learn,” over the course of the school year. MetaCOG Online is not a diagnostic measure; however, it provides valuable information about students’ use of executive function strategies as well as their self-concept, perceived effort, and persistence.
Can the survey information be stored and used in subsequent years?
MetaCOG Online data remains available to teachers as long as their MetaCOG licenses stay active. Teachers can compare their students’ results over the course of one or more academic years.