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Automated Guidance for Student Inquiry

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Journal of Educational Psychology Volume 108, Number 1, ISSN 0022-0663


In 4 classroom experiments we investigated uses for technologies that automatically score student generated essays, concept diagrams, and drawings in inquiry curricula. We used the automatic scores to assign typical and research-based guidance and studied the impact of the guidance on student progress. Seven teachers and their 897 students participated. We documented the impact of guidance using pretests, embedded assessments, posttests, logged computer interaction data, and student and teacher interviews. We compared guidance designed to promote knowledge integration to 3 alternatives typically used in middle school classrooms. The knowledge integration guidance was more effective than generic guidance and specific guidance, and as effective as guidance designed by experienced teachers who also participated in professional development that emphasized knowledge integration. Results suggest that using automatic scores to assign knowledge integration guidance can provide an inquiry teaching partner: this guidance helps students use evidence to sort out ideas and can free teachers to support students who need extra help.


Gerard, L.F., Ryoo, K., McElhaney, K.W., Liu, O.L., Rafferty, A.N. & Linn, M.C. (2016). Automated Guidance for Student Inquiry. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(1), 60-81. Retrieved September 27, 2022 from .

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