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Sara Beth Plummer Receives Provost’s Fund for Research Grant
January 9, 2020

Sara Beth Plummer, Assistant Professor of Teaching and Assistant Director of the BASW Program, has received a Catalyst Grant from the Provost’s Fund for Research. The Provost’s Fund for Research advances Rutgers University–Camden’s research enterprise and increases the university's research competitiveness among its peers. It provides support for faculty research, scholarly work, and creative endeavors across all disciplines and particularly encourages multidisciplinary research and new initiatives from early career faculty. The Catalyst Grant Program is designed for individual investigators who are starting new scholarly, research, or creative initiatives. These include projects from early career faculty (i.e. new investigators) who have not previously received funding for the work outlined in their proposal. 

The grant will support Plummer's project "Metacognition, Self-regulated Learners, and Affect Regulation: The Introduction of Metacognitive Skills in the Classroom." Academia largely focuses on cognitive strategies, skills that allow students to gain the knowledge needed to demonstrate an understanding of a particular topic. An equally important focus is helping students think about how they retrieve, integrate, and remember that knowledge. Metacognition, known as “thinking about one’s thinking”, assists individuals to identify poor learning habits and accumulate new strategies that will provide greater educational outcomes (Flavell, 1979). A term coined in the 1970's, metacognition is defined as "knowledge or beliefs about what factors or variables act and interact in what ways to affect the course and outcome of cognitive enterprises" (Flavell, p. 907). 

The goal of this project is to test a metacognitive model, hypothesizing that students’ academic success will improve by engaging and optimizing their metacognitive skills by addressing Self-Regulated learning and Affective Self-Regulation. The project intends to test the hypothesis that participants’ academic success will be improved by engaging and optimizing their use of metacognitive skills. The objectives are to demonstrate that through the use of: 1. Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) skills (i.e. planning, monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating one’s learning strategies) and 2. Affective Self-Regulation skills (ASR) (i.e. controlling one’s emotional state and ability to focus) participants will be better able to capitalize on their metacognitive skills (through lowered anxiety) and in turn exhibit improved learning outcomes. This study intends to test the hypothesis that the introduction of metacognition into the classroom will increase the participants’ usage of metacognitive skills, decrease anxiety, increase student engagement, and improve learning outcomes. Learning outcomes will be measured by reviewing their final grade in the course and their GPA before and after the intervention. Demographics will be collected on gender, race, and socioeconomic status.

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