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Metacognition in schools: what does the literature suggest about the effectiveness of teaching metacognition in schools?

Perry, John; Lundie, David; Golder, Gill


Assistant Professor

David Lundie

Gill Golder


This paper focuses on a neglected area of school policy and practice: metacognition. As education becomes increasingly evidence-informed policy makers, school leaders and teachers are becoming increasingly research literate and have ready access to an ever-growing range of evidence about ‘what works’ in schools. Influential sources of evidence, such as the Education Endowment Foundation’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit, often indicate that teaching metacognition in schools can have a very positive effect on pupils’ outcomes. In this paper, we examine over fifty studies to ascertain the effect of teaching metacognition in schools on pupils’ outcomes and their wellbeing. Following our review it is clear that there is strong evidence indicating the when metacognition is effectively taught in schools then there is a very positive effect on pupil outcomes; there is less evidence about the relationship between teaching metacognition and pupil wellbeing, but the evidence which does exist is also very positive. Having identified that teaching metacognition can help improve pupil outcomes in schools, we then pose questions about the English government’s attitudes towards evidence-based practice. We ask why the government adopts some policies and strategies which have an international evidence base, while not adopting other policies or strategies which have at least an equally strong evidence base. This paper concludes by suggesting how policies and practices can be improved at in schools, Initial Teacher Education establishments and at the level of national policy.


Perry, J., Lundie, D., & Golder, G. (2019). Metacognition in schools: what does the literature suggest about the effectiveness of teaching metacognition in schools?. Educational Review, 71(4), 483-500.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 26, 2018
Publication Date Apr 26, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 30, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2019
Journal Educational Review
Print ISSN 0013-1911
Electronic ISSN 1465-3397
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 71
Issue 4
Pages 483-500
Keywords Metacognition; Thinking skills; Evidence based practice; Policy
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Review on 26/04/2018, available online:


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