Can automated questions scaffold children's reading comprehension?

Joseph E. Beck, Jack Mostow, and Juliet Bey
Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, September, 2004.


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Abstract
Can automatically generated questions scaffold reading comprehension? We automated three kinds of multiple-choice questions in children's assisted reading:
  1. Wh- questions: ask a generically worded What/Where/When question.
  2. Sentence prediction: ask which of three sentences belongs next.
  3. Cloze: ask which of four words best fills in a blank in the next sentence.
A within-subject experiment in the spring 2003 version of Project LISTEN?s Reading Tutor randomly inserted all three kinds of questions during stories as it helped children read them. To compare their effects on story-specific comprehension, we analyzed 15,196 subsequent cloze test responses by 404 children in grades 1-4.
  • Wh- questions significantly raised children?s subsequent cloze performance.
  • This effect was cumulative over the story rather than a recency effect.
  • Sentence prediction questions probably helped (p = .07).
  • Cloze questions did not improve performance on later questions.
  • The rate of hasty responses rose over the year.
  • Asking a question less than 10 seconds after the previous question increased the likelihood of the student skipping the question or giving a hasty response.
The results show that a computer can scaffold a child?s comprehension of a given text without understanding the text itself, provided it avoids irritating the student.

Notes
Associated Lab(s) / Group(s): Project LISTEN
Number of pages: 12

Text Reference
Joseph E. Beck, Jack Mostow, and Juliet Bey, "Can automated questions scaffold children's reading comprehension?," Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, September, 2004.

BibTeX Reference
@inproceedings{Beck_2004_4992,
   author = "Joseph E Beck and Jack Mostow and Juliet Bey",
   title = "Can automated questions scaffold children's reading comprehension?",
   booktitle = "Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems",
   month = "September",
   year = "2004",
}