“Ultimately, students need to develop metacognitive abilities—the habits of mind necessary to assess their own progress—rather than relying solely on external indicators. A number of studies show that achievement improves when students are encouraged to assess their own contributions and work. It is also important to help students assess the kinds of strategies they are using to learn and solve problems. For example, in quantitative courses such as physics, many students simply focus on formulas and fail to think first about the problem to be solved and its relation to key ideas in the discipline (e.g. Newton’s second law). When students are helped to do the latter, their performance on new problems greatly improves.”
Excerpted from: Donovan, M. Suzanne, and John D. Bransford, eds. How Students Learn History in the Classroom. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2005.