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Education Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 309894, 12 pages
Research Article

Socioscientific Decision Making in the Science Classroom: The Effect of Embedded Metacognitive Instructions on Students' Learning Outcomes

1Department for Biology Education, Faculty of Biology and Psychology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Waldweg 26, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
2Center for Research on Education and Human Development, German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF), Goethe-University Frankfurt, Schloßstraße 29, 60486 Frankfurt, Germany

Received 2 October 2012; Revised 23 November 2012; Accepted 29 November 2012

Academic Editor: Bracha Kramarski

Copyright © 2013 Sabina Eggert et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of cooperative training strategies to enhance students' socioscientific decision making as well as their metacognitive skills in the science classroom. Socioscientific decision making refers to both “describing socioscientific issues” as well as “developing and evaluating solutions” to socioscientific issues. We investigated two cooperative training strategies which differed with respect to embedded metacognitive instructions that were developed on the basis of the IMPROVE method. Participants were 360 senior high school students who studied either in a cooperative learning setting (COOP), a cooperative learning setting with embedded metacognitive questions (COOP+META), or a nontreatment control group. Results indicate that students in the two training conditions outperformed students in the control group on both processes of socioscientific decision making. However, students in the COOP+META condition did not outperform students in the COOP condition. With respect to students' learning outcomes on the regulation facet of metacognition, results indicate that all conditions improved over time. Students in the COOP+META condition exhibited highest mean scores at posttest measures, but again, results were not significant. Implications for integrating metacognitive instructions into science classrooms are discussed.