ASSISTments Meets Inquiry

This project addresses middle school students’ learning of science through the improvement of their inquiry science skills. The main goal is to develop a rigorous, technology-based assessment system for standards-aligned assessment of inquiry skills in six physical science content areas (i.e., Properties of Matter; Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures; Motion of Objects; Forms of Energy; and Heat Energy). Assessments are aligned with the Massachusetts Curricular Framework and National Science Education Standards.

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Dr. Carlos Ayala
Full Description


The goal of the AMI project (Assistments Meets Inquiry) is to develop a technology-based assessment system for Middle School Physical Science to be aligned with the Massachusetts Curricular Frameworks. We will do this by: 1) leveraging  from the existing  authoring  functionality in the ASSISTments project for Math (developed by Neil Heffernan & colleagues) in order to develop Science Assistments, 2) extending the logging functionality for this system in order to capture students’ fine grained actions with microworlds, 3) evaluating students’ interactions with models using a framework for aggregating students’ actions into domain-general inquiry skills, and 4) extending the existing reporting infrastructure to report students’ inquiry skills to teachers for formative assessment so s/he can determine which skills his/her students are performing poorly on. 

We are working in two urban schools and a small group of suburban/rural schools in the Central MA area. Worcester is the third largest city in Massachusetts, with high levels of children on free- or assisted-lunch programs. The area also is home to children of many different ethnicities, and as such, provides data that are likely to generalize well across the United State

This project has a longitudinal research design and will generate evidence that is causal [experimental, Educational Data Mining].  Original data are being collected using school records, assessments of learning [concept pre- and post-tests for content and inquiry skills], observation [logs], and survey research.  The project is evaluating the use of adaptive scaffolding of inquiry skills within an intelligent tutoring system for science inquiry. No adaptive scaffolding is being used as the comparison condition. The analysis plan for this project involves educational data mining applied to log files of students' log files.

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ASSISTments Meets Inquiry Poster 01/06/2011 - 02:04pm