Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



Published in Educational Psychology Review 7:4 (1995), pp. 351–371. Copyright © 1995 Plenum Publishing Corporation. Used by permission.


This paper proposes a framework for understanding people’s theories about their own cognition. Metacognitive theories are defined broadly as systematic frameworks used to explain and direct cognition, metacognitive knowledge, and regulatory skills. We distinguish tacit, informal, and formal metacognitive theories and discuss critical differences among them using criteria borrowed from the developmental literature. We also consider the origin and development of these theories, as well as implications for educational research and practice.