Texas A&M researcher receives $14.9 million grant to improve smart tutoring systems

Kay Wijekumar, professor at Texas A&M’s College of Education & Human Development

Josh Huskin for Spirit Magazine/Texas A&M Foundation

College of Education & Human Development professor Kay Wijekumar and his team at Texas A&M University have received a $14.9 million grant to implement and improve smart tutoring systems to help increase understanding socio-economically and culturally in fourth- and fifth-grade students reading. various schools across the country.

The Education Innovation Research (EIR) Expansion Phase Grant led to the creation of the Knowledge Acquisition and Transformation (KATE) Expansion Project, which will take place over five years. KATE is a partnership between Texas A&M and external evaluators WestEd and Analytica Insights Inc.. These three organizations will work together to support an insight-driven technology platform for the project.

Wijekumar said that one of the main goals of KATE is to improve the reading comprehension of 4th and 5th graders by implementing a web-based intelligent tutoring system for structure strategy (ITSS), available in English and Spanish.

“ITSS research has shown positive effects on student comprehension outcomes,” Wijekumar said. “We will implement this strategy in schools across the country and measure student improvement by analyzing their test scores over the course of the year.”

ITSS provides modeling, exercises, interactive activities, assessments and immediate feedback to learners at their own pace, allowing them to learn and apply the text structure strategy to read and understand effectively.

Wijekumar said KATE will also support teacher loyalty to ITSS implementation with practice-based professional development using web-based open online virtual learning and a “360-degree multidimensional support system.” (MOOV 360) developed and tested as part of effective educator development support. (SEED).

She said KATE’s ultimate goal is to examine the effectiveness of ITSS and MOOV 360 with an economically and culturally diverse population of 4th and 5th graders from multiple geographic regions of the United States. .

“At the end of the five years, we hope to have improved reading comprehension with an economically and culturally diverse population of 4th and 5th graders from multiple geographic regions of the United States,” Wijekumar said. “We also hope to be able to introduce teacher professional development, learning materials and web-based smart tutoring systems to a global audience at that time.”

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