Quantitative evaluation of gender differences, cognitive development differences and software effectiveness for an elementary mathematics intelligent tutoring system

2003 2003

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation presents results of a formative evaluation of AnimalWatch, an intelligent tutoring software system for 9–12 year-olds, which teaches whole numbers and fractions by adapting the difficulty of problems to students' performance. Results come from a macro-analysis of 350 students using AnimalWatch in two different schools during three years. Data from these studies were integrated to analyze the system's overall effectiveness, as well as gender and cognitive development differences in interactions with the system, particularly in relation to the help component. In general, it was found that students reduced their mistakes as they progressed in the tutoring session, and improved their attitudes towards mathematics after using the system. However, a rigorous study of the internal components of AnimalWatch showed that the system can be further improved to maximize its positive impact. Students saw too many easy problems, and this may explain the fact that they hardly reached the last topics in the system. In addition, students benefited differently from alternative kinds of feedback provided, depending on the level of abstraction within the help component and the amount of help. An analysis of help effectiveness for students of different gender and cognitive development showed that girls were more sensitive to amount and structure of help than to level of abstraction in the provided help. On the other hand, boys of low cognitive development were affected by level of abstraction in the help. While boys were being selective about the kinds of help they were willing to see, girls would obediently go through each of the hints provided.

Indexing (details)

Educational software;
Mathematics education;
Artificial intelligence
0710: Educational software
0280: Mathematics education
0800: Artificial intelligence
Identifier / keyword
Education; Applied sciences; Cognitive development; Gender differences; Intelligent tutoring; Mathematics; Software
Quantitative evaluation of gender differences, cognitive development differences and software effectiveness for an elementary mathematics intelligent tutoring system
Arroyo, Ivon M.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 64/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Woolf, Beverly Park
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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