Classroom Research: A SMARTS Pilot Study

Students raising hands in classroom. They are all seated facing the teacher and whiteboard

When it comes to teaching executive function strategies, research has demonstrated that explicit, systematic, structured, and scaffolded approaches yield the greatest results. It is also important to consider that each teaching environment presents its own factors that influence learning.

Action Research: In the Classroom

Two teachers in Slovakia took matters into their own hands and carried out a review of their students’ metacognitive abilities pre- and post-SMARTS intervention. We’ll highlight their major findings in this post, and we encourage you to read their full report.

The authors of the article, Iveta Kovalčíková and Ivana Martinková, completed SMARTS training before embarking on this pilot study. The question that guided their research was: What is the impact of intervention through the metacognitive program SMARTS on selected metacognitive abilities (organizing and prioritizing) of examined pupils?

Research Overview

Kovalčíková and Martinková applied a number of SMARTS curriculum lessons (adapted to the Slovak curricular context) to stimulate their students’ abilities to organize and prioritize information:

  1. Purposeful Highlighting—highlighting to identify multiple perspectives when reading and taking notes
  2. Triple-Note-Tote—a three-column strategy for note-taking
  3. BOTEC—a strategy to help students organize and sort ideas (Brainstorming, Organizing, Topic sentences, Evidence and Conclusion)

Interventions lasting forty-five to sixty minutes were carried out in 25 sessions twice a week. The authors highlight case studies of two students, Emil and Vanda, who develop metacognitive skills and personalized strategies throughout the intervention.


Based on the outcomes obtained by observation and interviews, the impact of the intervention on the pupils’ metacognitive abilities can be assessed as positive.

We thank Iveta Kovalčíková and Ivana Martinková for sharing their study with us. SMARTS empowers students by helping them understand their strengths and weaknesses and teaching them critically important executive function strategies.

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development: