The role of metacognitive strategy use in second grade students with learning disabilities during written spelling tasks
General education and special education teachers are expected to provide evidence-based instruction to all students in the classroom. Along with that, they must make sure that their students pass the state mandated tests based on state standards. Meeting the needs of everyone in the classroom is a difficult task especially with 10-20% of those students having special learning needs that require a different approach to assessment and instruction. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role that metacognitive strategies have in second grade students with learning disabilities while they are performing written spelling lists and story generation tasks. One-on-one interviews were conducted with two second grade students with learning disabilities after they had written ten word spelling lists as well as a story based on a photograph of their choice. The interviews were conducted to identify what metacognitive processes they used by asking them to report and reflect on what they wrote, how they knew what to write, and whether or not they could identify what they wrote was correct, as well as being able to independently correct any errors they made. The results indicate that although their metacognitive strategies were emerging, they had difficulty reporting consistently and accurately what spelling strategies they used. They also had difficulty reflecting on whether a word was correct or incorrect and if incorrect, how to correct it. Each student used a different approach to spelling a word, one “Brute Force” and the other “Rule-based.” Neither of these approaches worked effectively for these students as they made many spelling errors and still had difficulty correcting them. The overall findings indicate that these two second grade students with learning disabilities used limited metacognitive strategies of monitoring, regulating and reflecting. What strategies they did employ, were not consistent or effective to help them achieve a level of spelling efficiency needed to be successful in second grade.