Elaborations: Differences in the metacognitive behaviour of successful and less successful students

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Scores on teacher-made tests were used to rank 88 second-year science students in a secondary school in Central Trinidad, as successful and less successful. Different subjects chosen from the sample were tested in three phases: 1) subjects received base sentences and were asked to generate endings (elaboration) that would help them to remember information supplied in the base sentence, 2) subjects rated a mixture of sentences for comprehensibility, and 3) subjects were asked to rate sentences in sets as easy or difficult to remember. Cued recall tests were administered after each phase. The study showed that successful students generate significantly more precise elaborations than less successful students and the precise elaborations facilitated recall even when students were unaware of the powerful effect of precision on retention. The success of training in elaborative activities indicates that some students suffer from a mediational or production deficiency since they may have the required knowledge and skills but fail to employ learning strategies spontaneously


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