Assessment for Learning: The impact of a Professional Development Programme on Students’ Metacognitive Strategies.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review



Assessment for Learning (AfL) is an approach to formative assessment which can positively influence student learning and their metacognition (Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick, 2006).

Teachers find it difficult to put AfL into practice, however (Author, 2018). As a result, the potential benefits of AfL not yet realized. For this reason, a Teacher Professional Development (TPD) was developed for teachers to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to implement AfL in their own classroom. Previous research showed positive effects of this programme on teacher satisfaction, knowledge and skills (Author, submitted).


In this study, we investigated the effect of a TPD programme in AfL on students’ use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies.

Theoretical framework

One reason for the effectiveness of AfL is that it can stimulate students to develop the metacognition that they need in order to self-regulate their own learning process (Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick, 2006). There is evidence that the abilities to use cognitive and metacognitive strategies is highly related to the level of learning (Clark 2012. For example, if teachers ask students to construct the criteria for success of a lesson themselves, students will have a better understanding of these criteria. Subsequently, this makes it more likely for students to plan their learning efforts effectively (Heritage, 2010).

Methods and data

We developed a TPD programme in which AfL was treated as an integrated process of skill acquisition, attitude formation and knowledge construction (van Merriënboer & Kirschner, 2017). All essential aspects needed for performing AfL in daily secondary education teaching practice were presented in learning tasks. A total of 32 schools with each three teachers were randomly assigned to either the experimental (i.e., participation in the TPD programme) or the control group.

Before and after the TPD programme, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Pintrich, et al., 1993) was administered to the students of the participating teachers (N = 1319), which measured ‘Rehearsal’, ‘Elaboration’, ‘Organization’, ‘Critical thinking’, and ‘Metacognition’ of the students.


No significant differences were found on any of the scales measuring cognitive and metacognitive strategies between students in the experimental group and students in the control group.

There are multiple explanations possible for these results. Due to COVID-19, schools were closed for multiple months in which students only received distance education. Consequently, it might have been more difficult for teachers to continuously monitor and stimulate students in the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Also, not all teachers were able to complete the entire programme due to COVID -19, which therefore might have been too limited for teachers to stimulate their students’ cognitive and metacognitive strategies.

Scholarly significance and connection to conference theme

As of yet, TPD programmes have had mixed results on the student level (Randel et al., 2016). This study aimed to clarify which design principles may be helpful for a TPD programme on AfL. This study is connected to the data use network as it gives insights into the development of teachers in the use of data to improve teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event34th International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement, ICSEI 2021: Crossing Boundaries and Building Bridges - online , Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 8 Mar 202118 Mar 2021
Conference number: 34


Conference34th International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement, ICSEI 2021
Abbreviated titleICSEI 2021
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment for Learning: The impact of a Professional Development Programme on Students’ Metacognitive Strategies.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this