European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 397–416 | Cite as

Developmental relationship between declarative metacognitive knowledge and reading comprehension during secondary school

  • Ashenafi Kassahun EdossaEmail author
  • Nora Neuenhaus
  • Cordula Artelt
  • Klaus Lingel
  • Wolfgang Schneider


Knowledge about one’s own cognitive processes is the basis for the monitoring and regulation of learning processes for effective reading comprehension. Taking verbal cognitive ability into account, the present study aimed to examine the developmental trajectories of reading comprehension and declarative metacognitive knowledge and their interrelationship from grade 5 to grade 8. A multivariate latent growth curve analysis was conducted using longitudinal data collected from secondary school students in Germany at four time points (grades 5, 6, 7, and 8). The participants showed developmental gains in both reading comprehension and declarative metacognitive knowledge during this time period. While a widening of gap was observed for reading comprehension between high- and low-achieving students from grades 5 to 8, there was no evidence of an increase or a decrease in the gap in declarative metacognitive knowledge during the study period. The initial level of reading comprehension and the later developmental gain were significantly predicted by early verbal cognitive ability. Verbal cognitive ability had a significant effect on initial declarative metacognitive knowledge but not on later developmental gains. Developmental changes in reading comprehension and declarative metacognition were significant and appeared to be parallel in slope. While early declarative metacognitive knowledge was significantly related to later developmental gains in reading comprehension, early reading comprehension was not significantly related to later developmental gains in declarative metacognition. This study’s findings are discussed with respect to the impact of strategies (declarative metacognitive knowledge) on reading comprehension and on the developmental interplay between both constructs.


Declarative metacognitive knowledge Reading comprehension Latent growth curve analysis Developmental relationship Self-regulation Development 


Funding information

The study was supported by grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG) to Wolfgang Schneider (Würzburg, SCHN 315/36) and Cordula Artelt (Bamberg, AR 301/8) as part of the DFG priory program SPP 1293 and to the Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences under the German Excellence Initiative (GSC1024).


  1. Abedi, J., Bailey, A., Butler, F., Castellon-Wellington, M., Leon, S., & Mirocha, J. (2005). The validity of administering large-scale content assessments to English language learners: an investigation from three perspectives. CSE Report 663. National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, J. M., Carr, M., & Schwanenflugel, P. J. (1995). Development of metacognition in gifted children: directions for future research. Developmental Review, 15(1), 1–37.Google Scholar
  3. Allon, M., Gutkin, T. B., & Bruning, R. (1994). The relationship between metacognition and intelligence in normal adolescents: some tentative but surprising findings. Psychology in the Schools, 31(2), 93–97.Google Scholar
  4. Annevirta, T., Laakkonen, E., Kinnunen, R., & Vauras, M. (2007). Developmental dynamics of metacognitive knowledge and text comprehension skill in the first primary school years. Metacognition and Learning, 2(1), 21–39. Scholar
  5. Artelt, C., Naumann, J., & Schneider, W. (2010). Lesemotivation und Lernstrategien.Google Scholar
  6. Artelt, C., Neuenhaus, N., Lingel, K., & Schneider, W. (2012). Entwicklung und wechselseitige Effekte von metakognitiven und bereichsspezifischen Wissenskomponenten in der Sekundarstufe. Psychologische Rundschau.Google Scholar
  7. Artelt, C., & Schneider, W. (2015). Cross-Country Generalizability of the Role of Metacognitive Knowledge in Students’ Strategy Use and Reading Competence. Teachers College Record, 117(1), n1.Google Scholar
  8. Artelt, C., Demmrich, A. & Baumert, J. (2001). Selbstreguliertes Lernen. In J. Baumert, E. Klieme, M. Neubrand, M. Prenzel, U. Schiefele, W. Schneider, P. Stanat, K.-J. Tillmann & M. Weiß (Hrsg.), PISA 2000. Basiskompetenzen von Schülerinnen und Schülern im internationalen Vergleich (S. 271-298).Google Scholar
  9. Aunola, K., Leskinen, E., Onatsu-Arvilommi, T., & Nurmi, J. (2002). Three methods for studying developmental change: a case of reading skills and self-concept. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72(3), 343–364.Google Scholar
  10. Baumert, J., Nagy, G., & Lehmann, R. (2012). Cumulative advantages and the emergence of social and ethnic inequality: Matthew effects in reading and mathematics development within elementary schools? Child Development, 83(4), 1347–1367.Google Scholar
  11. Berardi-Coletta, B., Buyer, L. S., Dominowski, R. L., & Rellinger, E. R. (1995). Metacognition and problem solving: A process-oriented approach. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 21, 205-223. DOI: 10.1024/1421-0185.62.4.251Google Scholar
  12. Bollen, K. A., & Curran, P. J. (2006). Latent curve models: a structural equation perspective (Vol. 467). Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. Borkowski, J. G., Chan, L. K., & Muthukrishna, N. (2000). A process-oriented model of metacognition: links between motivation and executive functioning. In G. Schraw & J. C. Impara (Eds.), Issues in the measurement of metacognition (pp. 1–42). Lincoln: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements.Google Scholar
  14. Brand, S., Opwis, K., Hatzinger, M., & Holsboer-Trachsler, E. (2010). REM-sleep is related to the transfer of implicit procedural knowledge following metacognitive learning. Somnology, 14, 213-220.Google Scholar
  15. Brown, A. (1987). Metacognition, executive control, self-regulation, and other more mysterious mechanisms. In Metacognition, motivation, and understanding (pp. 65–116). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Brown, A. L., Bransford, J., Ferrara, R., & Campione, J. (1983). Learning, remembering, and understanding. In P. H. Musen (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 77–166). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  17. Cain, K., Oakhill, J., & Bryant, P. (2004). Children’s reading comprehension ability: concurrent prediction by working memory, verbal ability, and component skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(1), 31–42. Scholar
  18. Carroll, M. (2008). Metacognition in the classroom. In J. Dunlosky & R. A. Bjork (Eds.), Handbook of metamemory and memory (pp. 411–427). New York: Psychological.Google Scholar
  19. Catts, H. W., Bridges, M. S., Little, T. D., & Tomblin, J. B. (2008). Reading achievement growth in children with language impairments. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51(6), 1569–1579.Google Scholar
  20. DeLucia, C., & Pitts, S. C. (2006). Applications of individual growth curve modeling for pediatric psychology research. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31(10), 1002–1023. Scholar
  21. Edossa, A. K., Schroeders, U., Weinert, S., & Artelt, C. (2017). The development of emotional and behavioral self-regulation and their effects on academic achievement in childhood. International Journal of Behavioral Development,
  22. Elshout, J. J., & Veenman, M. V. (1992). Relation between intellectual ability and working method as predictors of learning. The Journal of Educational Research, 85(3), 134–143.Google Scholar
  23. Flavell, J. H., & Wellman, H. M. (1977). Perspectives on the development of memory and cognition. In R. V. Kail & J. W. Hagen (Eds.), Metamemory (pp. 3–33). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  24. Ganschow, L., & Sparks, R. (2001). Learning difficulties and foreign language learning: a review of research and instruction. Language Teaching, 34(2), 79–98.Google Scholar
  25. Heller, K., & Perleth, C. (2000). Kognitiver Fähigkeitstest für 4. bis 12. Klassen, Revision (KFT 4–12+ R) [Cognitive capability test for grades 4 to 12; revision].Google Scholar
  26. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55. Scholar
  27. Lee, J. (2010). Tripartite growth trajectories of reading and math achievement: tracking national academic progress at primary, middle, and high school levels. American Educational Research Journal, 47(4), 800–832.Google Scholar
  28. Leppänen, U., Niemi, P., Aunola, K., & NURMI, J. (2004). Development of reading skills among preschool and primary school pupils. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(1), 72–93.Google Scholar
  29. Lerkkanen, M.-K., Rasku-Puttonen, H., Aunola, K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2004). Reading performance and its developmental trajectories during the first and the second grade. Learning and Instruction, 14(2), 111–130. Scholar
  30. Lingel, K., Neuenhaus, N., Artelt, C., & Schneider, W. (2010). Metakognitives Wissen in der Sekundarstufe: Konstruktion und Evaluation domänenspezifischer Messverfahren. Projekt EWIKO.Google Scholar
  31. Neuenhaus, N., Artelt, C., Lingel, K., & Schneider, W. (2011). Fifth graders metacognitive knowledge: general or domain-specific? European Journal of Psychology of Education, 26(2), 163–178.Google Scholar
  32. Neuenhaus, N., Artelt, C., & Schneider, W. (2013). The Impact of Cross-curricular Competences and Prior Knowledge on Learning Outcomes. International Journal of Higher Education, 2(4).
  33. Otto, B., & Kistner, S. (2017). Is there a Matthew effect in self-regulated learning and mathematical strategy application?—assessing the effects of a training program with standardized learning diaries. Learning and Individual Differences, 55, 75–86. Scholar
  34. Paris, S. G. (2002). When is metacognition helpful, debilitating, or benign? In P. Chambres, M. Izaute, & P.-J. Marescaux (Eds.), Metacognition (pp. 105–120). Boston: Springer US. Scholar
  35. Paris, S. G., Lipson, M. Y., & Wixson, K. K. (1983). Becoming a strategic reader. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 8(3), 293–316.Google Scholar
  36. Paris, S. G., Wasik, B., & Turner, J. C. (1991). The development of strategic readers. In R. Barr, M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, & P. D. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. 2, pp. 609–640). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  37. Parrila, R., Aunola, K., Leskinen, E., Nurmi, J.-E., & Kirby, J. R. (2005). Development of individual differences in reading: results from longitudinal studies in English and Finnish. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(3), 299–319.Google Scholar
  38. Perry, N. E. (1998). Young children’s self-regulated learning and contexts that support it. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(4), 715–729.Google Scholar
  39. Perry, N. E., VandeKamp, K. O., Mercer, L. K., & Nordby, C. J. (2002). Investigating teacher-student interactions that foster self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 37(1), 5–15.Google Scholar
  40. Pintrich, P. R., Wolters, C. A., & Baxter, G. P. (2000). Assessing metacognition and self-regulated learning. In G. Schraw & J. C. Impara (Eds.), Issues in the measurement of metacognition (pp. 43–98). Lincoln: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements.Google Scholar
  41. Pressley, M., Borkwski, J. G., & Schneider, W. (1989). Good information processing: What it is and how education can promote it. International Journal of Educational Research, 13(8), 857–867.Google Scholar
  42. R Development Core Team. (2016). R: a language and environment for statistical computing (version 2.13.2). Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing Retrieved from Scholar
  43. Rescorla, L., & Rosenthal, A. S. (2004). Growth in standardized ability and achievement test scores from 3rd to 10th grade. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(1), 85–96.Google Scholar
  44. Rigney, D. (2010). The Matthew effect: how advantage begets further advantage. Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Rosseel, Y., Oberski, D., Byrnes, J., Vanbrabant, L., Savalei, V., Merkle, E., … Barendse, M. (2015). Package “lavaan”.Google Scholar
  46. Schneider, W. (2008). The development of metacognitive knowledge in children and adolescents: Major trends and implications for education. Mind, Brain, and Education, 2(3), 114–121.Google Scholar
  47. Schneider, W. (2015). The development of metamemory. In Memory development from early childhood through emerging adulthood (pp. 255–308). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  48. Schneider, W. (1985). Developmental trends in the metamemory-memory behavior relationship:an integrative review. In D.-L. Pressley, G. E. MacKinnon, & T. G. Waller (Eds.), Metacognition, cognition, and human performance (pp. 57–109). Orlando: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  49. Schneider, W., & Pressley, M. (1997). Memory development between two and twenty (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
  50. Schneider, W., Schlagmüller, M., & Visé, M. (1998). The impact of metamemory and domain-specific knowledge on memory performance. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 13(1), 91–103.Google Scholar
  51. Schraw, G., & Dennison, R. S. (1994). Assessing metacognitive awareness. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 19(4), 460–475.Google Scholar
  52. Schraw, G., & Moshman, D. (1995). Metacognitive theories. Educational Psychology Review, 7(4), 351–371.Google Scholar
  53. Shin, T., Davison, M. L., Long, J. D., Chan, C.-K., & Heistad, D. (2013). Exploring gains in reading and mathematics achievement among regular and exceptional students using growth curve modeling. Learning and Individual Differences, 23, 92–100. Scholar
  54. Stanovich, K. E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21(4), 360–407.Google Scholar
  55. Thorpe, K. J., & Satterly, D. J. H. (1990). The development and inter-relationship of metacognitive components among primary school children. Educational Psychology, 10(1), 5–21. Scholar
  56. Veenman, M. V. J., Wilhelm, P., & Beishuizen, J. J. (2004). The relation between intellectual and metacognitive skills from a developmental perspective. Learning and Instruction, 14(1), 89–109. Scholar

Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bamberg Graduate School of Social Science (BAGSS)University of BambergBambergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Educational ResearchUniversity of BambergBambergGermany
  3. 3.Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi)BambergGermany
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany

Personalised recommendations