Outcome Predictions of Low-Performing Students: Illusion of Knowing or Lack of Confidence?


Successful performance on a test or assignment relies on the overlap between the knowledge and skills that learners possess and the particular demands of the task. The road to successful performance, however, begins well before the actual task is executed. It stems from learners’ ability to accurately predict their performance (metacognitive awareness) as well as their commitment to perform actions intended to close the gap (metacognitive control) if the discrepancy between current state and desired state is substantial. Prediction is all but simple. Through a field study, we asked whether low-performing students are truly unaware of not knowing their deficiencies, as the illusion-of-knowing (IoK) phenomenon implies. College students’ ability to predict their final test performance was surveyed as a function of test experience (i.e., before and after the test), performance level, and self-efficacy. In this study, high performers’ prospective and retrospective predictions were more accurate and confident than those of poor performers. As predicted by the IoK phenomenon, poor performers overestimated their grades. However, they were less confident in their predictions. They were also able to benefit from the experience of taking the test. In fact, their accuracy of prediction improved after the test. These findings, as well as the lower self-efficacy of poor performers, suggest that wishful thinking, rather than IoK, is the culprit. Namely, poor performers are students who are aware of their imperfect competence but have little confidence in their abilities.

Author Information
Runna Alghazo, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia
Maura Pilotti, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia
Halah Al Kuhayli, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia
Huda Mulhem, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2021
Stream: Learning Experiences

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon