Confidence judgments in real classroom settings: monitoring performance in different types of tests

Int J Psychol. 2009 Apr;44(2):93-108. doi: 10.1080/00207590701436744.


During testing, students have a valuable opportunity to exercise and improve their self-regulatory skills. However, the extent to which they profit from those experiences may vary according to some personal, test-related, and environmental factors. This study investigated the effects of metacognitive skills and test types on students' test performances, confidence judgments, and on the accuracy of those judgments. A sample of 129 psychology undergraduate students (50 men and 79 women, mean age = 18.9 years) were categorized according to their metacognitive skills (high vs average vs low) and had their test performances and monitoring processes in two different types of tests (i.e., multiple-choice and short-answer tests) compared throughout one academic term. Their test preparation practices, along with their attributional and regulatory processes during test-taking, were also compared by using open-ended questions. The results showed that: (1) high-metacognitive students presented more effective test preparation practices, better test performances, and superior attributional, regulatory, and monitoring processes than their counterparts; (2) differences in performance and judgment accuracy were significantly larger in the short-answer tests than in the multiple-choice tests; and (3) over time, students' performances and confidence levels varied in specific patterns according to the type of test being taken. The results are discussed, focusing on the educational implications of the interactions observed and on how they may determine what students can learn from test-taking experiences. In addition, based on the results obtained, specific suggestions on how to increase the metacognitive awareness of university students through instruction and on how to improve their academic assessment are provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Awareness
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Japan
  • Judgment*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Psychology / education*
  • Self Concept*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Test Taking Skills / psychology
  • Young Adult