FAQ for teachers

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This page is for teachers who are involved in the studies - it addresses their FAQ. Please add and modify as needed. (written by Ido Roll)


Q: What are you, researchers, looking for?

We are looking for the truth. We do not favor any one condition over the other - we are interested in what instruction helps the students the most, and contributes the most to the theory of learning. We do not want 'our' instruction to be better - we want to find which instruction is truly better.

Q: What will you do with the results of the studies?

The results of each study are carefully analyzed before being integrated into a theory of learning, in order to inform better design of instructional materials. Usually we publish the conclusions in a conference or a journal, in order to communicate what we have learned. Your contribution is always acknowledged in these reports.

In addition, successful studies are used to inform the design of newer versions of the Cognitive Tutor curricula.


Q: What if the test is too difficult?

Our tests are a bit tough on purpose. Remember that we are evaluating the Cognitive tutor, not the student. We do not want all students to ace the test, since in this case we will not be able to determine which instruction was better. Please make sure that your students are doing the best they can, in order to simulate a real learning environment. At the same time, make sure that the tough tests do not demoralize them.

Q: Can I have the test results back?

If you want to receive the test scores, please ask from the researcher. However, we do not encourage sharing the scores with the students, since they are typically lower than the students' true level (see question above).

Q: If students write their names on the test forms, how do I make sure that no personal information is being collected?

Once we collect the tests they go through a rigorous annonymization process. No names or other identifying details are being recorded on our systems. Our procedures in each individual study comply with the guidelines and are being monitored by the Institutional Review Board.

Q: How much time should I give to the test?

This depends on you and the researcher. Usually 20-30 minutes are enough - do not give to the tests more time than needed, in order not to take too much time away from instruction. The only emphasize is the following: Please make sure to give all your classes equal time, to keep the scores comparable.


Q: What condition should I assist?

None. Teach as you normally would.

How do I make it up for the Control condition?

No need to. We actually do not know that the experimental condition is getting better instruction...

Do you want to know about students' reactions and other experiences and impressions? 

Yes, a lot. Being in the classroom, and an experienced teacher, you have understanding that we lack and would like to get. Please share with us your impression and observations from the classroom.


Can I get Act-48 credit for the time I spend working on your study?

Depends on the school policiy, but generally speaking, yes.

Can I get paid?

Only if agreed upon before the beginning of the study, and only for unique contribution (such as preparing unique lesson plans).

What other help do you guys need beyond the instruction?

Go over tests and intervention, give feedback