Improving SAT reading scores by using metacognitive reading strategies
John Leddo, Qianqian Hong, Nandini Shyamala, Aaron Xue
Standardized testing is widely used in countries around the world and is often associated with high stakes as schools use test results in their admissions and graduation/certification decisions. Because of the importance of these tests, a plethora of test preparation services have arisen, many of which teach generalized test taking strategies. Given that research suggests that these programs produce modest improvement in reading scores, the present study investigated whether teaching metacognitive reading strategies would lead to improved reading performance on the SAT test, which is widely used in college admission decisions. Participants were students in both the United States and China who were studying for their SAT and PSAT exams. Half of the students were taught standard test taking strategies and the other half were taught metacognitive reading strategies. Both groups were then given a full SAT reading test and instructed to use the strategies they were taught. Results showed both a main effect and an interaction. Students using the metacognitive reading strategies scored higher than those using standard test taking strategies. The effect was stronger for American students than it was for Chinese students. Results suggest that metacognitive reading strategies can lead to higher reading scores on the SAT and further research can indicate whether this applies to other standardized tests as well.