Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences

Advisor 1

Emily Dare

Committee Member 1

Susan Amato-Henderson

Committee Member 2

Adam Feltz

Committee Member 3

Jon Sticklen


This work explores the effects of the implementation of a KWL reflective learning exercise on first-year engineering students’ self-efficacy, intelligence beliefs (mindset), and epistemological beliefs. A sample of 428 first-year engineering students were divided into three groups: a) control, b) exposure to KWL, and c) used KWL. Significant differences were found in self-efficacy between the groups with more efficacious students being less likely to utilize the KWL activity. Seventy-seven percent of the students who used the KWL activities reported positive learning outcomes by using the KWL activity to focus their class preparation or to reflect on their learning. No significant effects of KWL implementation were found on student mindset or epistemological beliefs. There were changes in mindset with respect to gender. While 47.8% of students started with a growth mindset, by the end of the semester male students shifted towards a fixed mindset and female students maintained their growth mindset.