Despite learners’ engagement in cognitive and metacognitive processes when marking text, text marking was only examined from a cognitive perspective. Although identification of important information using textual cues and prior knowledge is a cognitive process, the decision of whether to mark or not is metacognitive. Learners use standards they create to metacognitively monitor content and decide which parts merit marking and which do not. Acknowledging the metacognitive aspect of text marking would provide a better understanding of how the study tactic works. The current study investigates the effects of standards for metacognitively monitoring learners’ interaction with text when reading and marking. The experimental design allows comparisons of performance and marking activity among groups given or not given specific criteria of content to study and mark. The research also examines standards learners use when they freely mark text as well as the probability of recall for an information segment if marked or not marked. Learners used nstudy to mark text. nStudy is an online learning tool that allows learners to mark text and logs detailed traces of marking, and provides a description of what and how much learners’ marked. Findings show that if learners are given specific criteria to focus their learning, they do not need to mark text to process specified content. This implies that the key to efficacy of text marking is the judgment that learners engage in when deciding whether a text extract should be marked or not. Providing learners with criteria to guide marking and studying text dampens the marking of content not specified in the criteria, but it does not elevate the marking of criteria- specific content. Interestingly, learners who freely marked reported using 17 different standards when judging what to mark. Findings also show that, marking text and being engaged metacognitively in deciding what content to mark does enhance the probability of recalling marked text.
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Thesis advisor: Winne, Philip H.
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