The Relationship Between the Use of Metacognitive Reading Strategies and Student Retention in Higher Education



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Student retention is a major issue that has spanned multiple decades in higher education in the United States, corresponding with greater access to higher education and a rise in non-traditional students. Innumerable challenges can interfere with a student’s academic performance or ability to remain in and complete a degree program. All manner of recruiting and retention programs exist across the U.S. aimed at supporting at-risk students, promoting positive study habits and bridging knowledge gaps in content areas and higher education culture. However, such programs are not typically designed to develop critical thinking and self-regulation, particularly in academic reading. Reading university-level texts while employing higher-order thinking skills and self-regulation, known as metacognition, is a crucial academic skill lacking in most undergraduate university students. It is possible that institutions of higher education could strengthen student retention by integrating metacognitive reading strategy instruction into the curriculum and/or support programming. This mixed methods explanatory study examines the possible relationship between the level of student use of metacognitive reading strategies and their retention, and is framed on a triad of theories: Tinto’s Student Integration Model of retention, Flavell’s Model of Cognitive Monitoring and Heider’s Attribution Theory.



metacognition reading strategies student retention