Student's reports of their cognitive processes and level of understanding during regular classroom instruction
Singapore Journal of Education, 12(2), 11-25
Tay-Koay, Siew Luan
The study was designed in an attempt to gain greater understanding of the kinds of learning processes engaged in by students during regular classroom instruction, and at investigating the students' level of understanding and problems in understanding parts or all of the lessons. Six school levels of male and female students from 44 secondary and pre-university classes (N=2719) were the subjects of this study. During the lessons, students and teachers were observed and video-taped. Following the lessons, students' reports of their learning processes were obtained using a questionnaire. The questionnaire also served as the basis for a follow-up interview of four randomly selected students from each of the sampled classes. The whole procedure was repeated for each class within a one month period and for a different curricular area. Analyses of student responses showed that more of the average ability students as compared to the high or low ability students reported understanding all of the lessons. However, the higher ability students were more likely to report using specific cognitive strategies to monitor their understanding of the lessons and in processing intellectual tasks and lesson content. They were able to provide more elaborate and more specific reasons for not understanding parts of the lessons. The results were interpreted in terms of physical and organizational characteristics of educational classrooms in Singapore. Instructional implications are discussed in relationship to both the findings and previous literature.