Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education and Organizational Leadership Development

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Noelle Paufler

Committee Member

Dr. Heather Brooker

Committee Member

Dr. Daniella Hall Sutherland

Committee Member

Dr. Barbara Nesbitt


Teachers find it challenging to integrate metacognition into the classroom to promote critical thinking, but such rigorous instruction is one way to improve access to quality education for all students, no matter their access to outside-of-school resources. To help teachers find more comfort and confidence in designing for increased critical thinking and metacognitive discourse and to help close the theory-practice gap in metacognition research, I conducted a mixed-methods case study focusing on assessment-design interventions. Using the Metacognitive Framework for Assessment Design and Annotations of Awareness, both designed in response to my literature review, my 90-day action research included three Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles. Qualitative-data collection included surveys, observations and conversations, interviews, reflection logs, and design-session transcripts. Quantitative-data collection included Likert-scale portions of pre- and post-surveys and assistant-superintendent scores of teacher assessments pre and post study. Eight teachers (six English and two social studies) at a traditional public high school in South Carolina participated. Activity theory helped guide my iterative research design, my coding, and my findings. The benefits of the Metacognition Framework were measured and substantiated. Six themes emerged to reveal how the Framework supports critical thinking and metacognition: (a) Finding Clarity through Abstraction, (b) Moving Backwards to Move Forwards, (c) Giving More Feedback to Give Less, (d) Slowing Down to Speed Up, (e) Focusing on the Discrete for Transfer, and (f) Students Guiding the Teachers. Teacher self-ratings in confidence improved on average. Pre- and post-study assessment scores in the Thinking and Problem-Solving domains of the South Carolina Teaching Standards 4.0 Rubric (South Carolina Department of Education [SCDE], 2021d) revealed maintenance of or growth in rigor for five teachers, while the scores for the other three teachers offered guidance on how to hold up the 4.0 Rubric (SCDE, 2021d) to the realities and priorities of teaching. South Carolina public schools should integrate the Framework in secondary English and social studies classrooms utilizing school-level instructional coaching and district induction programs in order to support teachers in crafting assessments for increased student critical thinking and increased metacognitive discourse.



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