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Addressing the Testing Challenge with a Web-Based E-Assessment System that Tutors as it Assesses

  • Mingyu Feng, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA
  • Neil T. Heffernan, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA
  • Kenneth R. Koedinger, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Nominated for Best Student Paper Award

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Track: E* Applications: E-Communities, E-Learning, E-Commerce, E-Science, E-Government, and E-Humanities

Secondary teachers across the country are being asked to use formative assessment data to inform their classroom instruction. At the same time, critics of No Child Left Behind are calling the bill "No Child Left Untested" emphasizing the negative side of assessment, in that every hour spent assessing students is an hour lost from instruction. Or does it have to be? What if we better integrated assessment into the classroom, and we allowed students to learn during the test? Maybe we could even provide tutoring on the steps of solving problems. Our hypothesis is that we can achieve more accurate assessment by not only using data on whether students get test items right or wrong, but by also using data on the effort required for students to learn how to solve a test item. We provide evidence for this hypothesis using data collected with our E-ASSISTment system by more than 600 students over the course of the 2004-2005 school year. We also show that we can track student knowledge over time using modern longitudinal data analysis techniques. In a separate paper [9], we report on the ASSISTment system's architecture and scalability, while this paper is focused on how we can reliably assess student learning.


Feng, M., Heffernan, N. T., and Koedinger, K. R. 2006. Addressing the testing challenge with a web-based e-assessment system that tutors as it assesses. In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on World Wide Web (Edinburgh, Scotland, May 23 - 26, 2006). WWW '06. ACM Press, New York, NY, 307-316.
DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1135777.1135825

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