Improving sat writing and language scores by using metacognitive strategies
John Leddo, Aditya Sengar, Ivy Liang, Rishika Chilumula
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 has arisen, many of which teach generalized test taking strategies. Given that research suggests that these programs produce modest improvement in SAT scores, the present study investigated whether teaching metacognitive writing strategies would lead to improved scores on the Writing and Language portion of the SAT test, which is widely used in college admissions decisions. Since some of the SAT Writing and Language questions involve grammar, punctuation and usage rules that may be less conducive to using metacognitive strategies, while others involve writing style questions such as where to place sentences or how to combine them that may be more conducive to using metacognitive strategies, the present study focused on the latter types of questions. Participants were students in the United States 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 writing strategies. Both groups were then given an SAT Writing and Language post-test that had only writing style questions. Results showed that students using the metacognitive writing strategies scored higher than those using standard test taking strategies. Results suggest that metacognitive writing strategies can lead to higher Writing and Language scores on the SAT and further research can indicate whether this applies to other standardized tests as well.