Math and Metacognition: Resolving the Paradox

Abstract

Metacognition plays a fundamental role in forming self-judgments of ability and knowledge. Is metacognition domain and gender specific? Metacognitive judgments and performance were measured across biology, literature, and math content. Undergraduates took three shortened SAT II Subject Tests, and provided estimates of their performance both before and after taking each test. The results were that judgments differed across domain and gender. Overconfidence was evident in all domains, although estimates of ability were more accurate after taking a test. Males tended to be more overconfident, while females were less confident yet more accurately calibrated when estimating ability. Students were over-confident in math, bringing into question the existence of math phobia. Improvement in calibration and gender difference in calibration were most noticeable in math.


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