The Use of Metacognitive Knowledge in Essay Writing among High School Students

  •  Shahlan Surat    
  •  Saemah Rahman    
  •  Zamri Mahamod    
  •  Saadiah Kummin    


This paper report part of a bigger project aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of metacognitive strategies on students’ performance in essay writing. The aspects of metacognitive strategies considered in this study include the use of declarative knowledge, conditional knowledge, and procedural knowledge. The focus of this paper is on the use of metacognitive strategies during the writing activity. Before the intervention process, the participants were given a task to write an essay and after that they were asked to do metacognitive reflection. Data were analyzed using content analysis procedure. The respondents consisted of 18 secondary school students from poor urban community. The data revealed that ten participants did not use declarative knowledge namely: i) did not make the outline of the essay before writing, ii) did not identify keywords that represent the requirement of the question, and iii) how to expand ideas. These results indicate that students did not possess enough declarative knowledge about writing. The study also found that 11 respondents did not use declarative knowledge in the attempt to expand ideas. In terms of conditional knowledge, nine of the respondents still could not identify when and why certain strategies should be used. Whereas in terms of procedural knowledge, the study showed that all the participants did not show the use of important steps needed in writing a good essay. In conclusion, this study provides evidence on the need of an intervention or teaching modules to help improve students writing skills.

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