Assessment is a key element in education in general and in Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs; (Rus et al. 2013)) in particular because fully adaptive tutoring presupposes accurate assessment (Chi et al. 2001; Woolf 2008). Indeed, a necessary step towards instruction adaptation is assessing students’ knowledge state such that appropriate instructional tasks (macro-adaptation) are selected and appropriate scaffolding is offered while students are working on a task (micro-adaptation or within-task adaptation).
We focus in this article on assessing students’ prior knowledge in dialogue-based ITSs based on characteristics of the tutorial dialogue interaction between students and such systems. Assessing students’ other states, e.g. affective state, that are important for learning and therefore important to further adapt instruction to each individual learner is beyond the scope of this work.
When students start interacting with an ITS, their prior knowledge with respect to the target domain is typically assessed using a multiple choice pre-test although other forms of assessment such as open answer problem solving are sometimes used. The pre-test serves two purposes: enabling macro-adaptation in ITSs, i.e. the selection of appropriate instructional tasks for a student based on student’s knowledge state before the tutoring session starts, and, when paired with a post-test, establishing a baseline from which the student progress is gauged by computing learning gains (post- minus pre-test score). This widely used pre-test/post-test experimental framework is often necessary in order to infer whether the treatment was effective relative to the control.
While the role of a pre-test is important for assessing students’ prior knowledge, there are several challenges with having a pre-test. First, a pre-test (as well as the paired post-test) takes up a non-trivial amount of time. This is particularly true for experiments consisting of only one session in which case the pre-test and post-test may take up to half the time of the full experiment. For instance, a 2-h experiment could be broken down into three parts: 30 min for pre-test, 1 h of actual interaction with an ITS, and 30 min for post-test. Altogether, in this particular case the pre-test and post-test take 1 h which is half the time of the whole experiment.
More worryingly is the fact that in such experiments the pre-test may have a tiring effect on students. By the time students reach the post-test many of them will be so tired they will underperform even if they learned something during the actual training, thus, jeopardizing the whole experiment. For instance, in one of our experiments about 30 % of the subjects simply randomly picked one of the choices for the multiple-choice questions in the post-test without even reading the question. We observed this behavior by analyzing the time students took to pick their choice after they were shown a question on screen. About a third of the students took on average less than 5 s per question which is not even enough to read the text of the question. By comparison, the same students took on average 36 s to respond to similar questions in the pre-test. By eliminating the pre-test in the above illustrative experiment, we can reduce the overall experimental time to 1 h and 30 min, thus reducing tiring effects. By eliminating both the pre-test and post-test, we can further reduce the total experiment time.
Additionally, many times there is a disconnect between the pre- and post-test questions and the actual learning tasks and process. To overcome this challenge, Shute and Ventura (2013) argue for a shift towards emphasizing performance-based assessment which is about evaluating students’ skills and knowledge while applying them in authentic contexts. For instance, reading instructions in a role-playing game allows assessing students’ reading comprehension skills (Shute and Ventura 2013). Using explicit tests in such contexts would interfere with the main task and are therefore not recommended. They advocate for the use of stealth assessment while students engage in a particular activity. Like in stealth assessment, we advocate here for non-intrusive assessment during problem solving in dialogue-based ITSs. To this end, the goal of our work presented here was to investigate to what degree we can automatically infer students’ knowledge level directly from their performance while engaging in problem solving with the help of an ITS.
Eliminating the need for learners to go through a standard pre-test and a post-test saves time for more training, eliminates tiring effects and testing anxieties, and ultimately provides a more accurate picture of students’ capabilities as the assessment is conducted in context, i.e. while they solve problems in our case. In particular, we investigate how well we can predict students’ prior knowledge, as measured by a standard multiple-choice pre-test, based on characteristics of the tutorial dialogue interaction with the hope that if the predictions are close enough we can do without the pre-test in the future. We are also interested in finding out the minimum tutorial dialogue interaction that would yield an accurate estimate of students’ prior knowledge.
We would like to emphasize that we are not arguing for a complete elimination of explicit assessments such as multiple-choice tests which have their own advantages for learning such as testing effects (the memory retrieval processes activated during testing benefit long-term memory of the target material; (Roediger and Karpicke 2006)). Rather, we propose to investigate to what extent we can measure students’ knowledge level from interaction characteristics such that, when needed, we can employ this kind of non-intrusive assessment.
We conducted our research on data collected from an experiment with high-school students using the state-of-the-art conversational computer tutor DeepTutor (Rus et al. 2013). As mentioned, our goal was to find interaction features that are good predictors of students’ pre-test scores and to create prediction models that would be as useful as the multiple choice pre-tests in measuring students’ prior knowledge. The best model we found can predict students’ prior knowledge, as measured by a summative pre-test, with r=0.949 and adjusted r-square =0.833. We also determined the minimum dialogue length which is necessary to be able to make the best predictions.
The remainder of the article is organized as follows: Section “Related work” briefly discusses previous relevant work while Section “DeepTutor: a state-of-the-art dialogue-based intelligent tutoring system” presents a brief overview of the computer tutor that provided the context for our experimental analysis. The following section decribes the approach. The data is presented in the next section which is followed by the “Experiments and results” section offering details about the various prediction models and the results we obtained from these models. The article ends with a section on conclusions and further work.
The student would not make his piece of writing impressive without being involved in academic essay writing for years. Do you think that writing an informative essay is easy? It provides specific information on a subject-related topic without any attempts to persuade the reader in the author’s truth, but it offers some challenges. The list of possible informative essay topics is endless. The article shares the top-quality essay topic ideas based on the best academic papers submitted by the students worldwide.
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Informative Essay: Definition by Essay Writing Guru
An informative essay is a type of academic assignment, given to high school and college students to test the way they can provide information on a specific topic (global warming, hate crime, discrimination, fast-food, obesity, etc.). Compared to other popular forms of academic essays (persuasive/argumentative), the student should not try to convince the reader of his truth in an informative essay. It is the most effective academic tool of the high school/college teacher. It is used to evaluate various criteria:
- Knowledge of subject
- Set of skills
- Awareness of formats
- English proficiency
The greatest reward is the highest possible grade and improved great point average (GPA).
How to Write an Informative Essay?
The integral part of scientific/academic essay writing is a research, which refers to the systematic, smooth investigation of primary & secondary sources to present the facts on a specified problem. Modern students have a unique opportunity to use the Internet. It takes less time, nerves, and efforts than high school/college/university libraries used to several decades ago. The approach is the same.
How to Handle Research Process
While studying the available sources, it is important to notice the date of publishing (old sources are those that were published more than 5 years ago), whether the authority accredited the source, and how relevant the displayed information is. It is better to exclude sources that provide an opinion on the matter (for example, reviews or critical articles). It is better to choose the primary sources. They include:
- Books & e-Books
- Academic journals
- Scientific magazines
- Official reports
- Print newspapers
- Accredited websites
- Documentaries & movies
- Research papers
Remember to find & use facts alone. To provide a corresponding evidence in the context of your informative essay, insert either a direct or indirect quote with the help of quotation marks and narrowed reference in the parentheticals. Write down notes highlighting the main ideas. The goal is to inform. Save your time on providing facts & detailed descriptions instead of trying to persuade the target readers that your position towards the researched problem is correct while the opponents are wrong.
Professional Advice from Our Academic Company
“Split the entire information into 3 different categories. Those would be the history of research, the process of it, and the benefits of the discovered materials related to the field of study. Every category will become the focus of the corresponding body paragraphs. Omit any details that no longer fit into your informative essay. Send your ready draft to the professional online essay writing services to avoid any grammar/spelling/punctuation mistakes, plagiarism, issues with formatting, or other factors, which may prevent your informative essay from being excellent”.
Prof. Lesley, online tutor & essay editor from EssayPro
How to Write Informative Essay Outline
Once you decided on the topic, it is time to sit down and spend a couple of hours or more depending on the assignment’s volume on the informative essay outline.
What’s an informative essay outline? By having a clear plan of action, it is possible to avoid problems with an informative essay writing. Like a traveler lost in the forest without his compass, a student will be lost between the lines of his text without having an outline in front of his eyes. The instructions do not always tell to prepare an outline. If it does not say to insert a table of contents, the author should still carry out an outline to recall it each time he starts falling off the topic. The goal is to provide meaningful descriptions to educate the reading audience on the given topic. To understand how to write an informative essay, it is important to introduce data void of any type of bias.
Have a look at each stage of professional academic essay writing (an outline).
How to Write an Informative Essay Introduction
Introduce the topic by developing a shocking, engaging hook sentences in the beginning to grab the reader’s attention. It would be a great idea to insert a literary quote or famous people saying in the opening sentence. Try beginning with the statistics/fact. Another nice option is adding a simile or metaphor.
Work on a powerful thesis statement (include the main informative essay’s idea). Check whether the rest of the arguments relate to it. End your initial paragraph by stating the predictions for the future, rhetorical question, link to the next passage, or anything else to make the reader move to the second section being intrigued. Various transition words & phrases help to build links between paragraphs. Here is an example of informative essay introduction:
“It is 7 AM on a hot day in June, and I have already showered and taken my meal. I realize that the rest of the students are having dreams spending their best summer days the way an average student should when it is sunny outside. I do not envy them. With the huge enthusiasm, I hurry to my part-time job as an editor’s assistant at the local art magazine to gain new exciting writing experience!”
How to Write an Informative Essay Body Paragraphs
Do not come up with more than three body paragraphs & 3 main arguments to defend. Each claim included in the work should be supported by the meaningful, strong evidence retrieved during the process of in-depth research.
Keep in mind the structure below:
How to Write an Informative Essay Conclusion
It is necessary to finish the whole informative essay on an epic note in case the author wants the reading audience to remember his brilliant ideas and go on researching the problem. A conclusion should have a restated/rewritten thesis statement in one sentence. Add a meaningful summary based on 3 main points discussed in the body. It is a good idea to finish the informative essay with the exclamation, forecasts for the future, innovative ideas, rhetorical question, or quote of a famous person. It is all about leaving the last impression! Do not forget about one more page at the end – Bibliography!
How to Format & Reference in Academic Essay Writing
Combine the list of great informative essay topics above with these helpful tips & tricks to have an insight on how to write an informative essay every teacher will love!
It is time to say several words about formatting. Every informative essay instruction will have this point among the rest, so do not hurry to relax. Any format is made of 2 main parts. Those are direct/indirect in-text citations inserted in the body text & list of references, which appears at the end of the informative essay after the conclusion part. It is sometimes called References (in APA style), Bibliography or Works Cited page (in MLA).
An example of the properly referenced list of sources.
Heaney, Seamus. “Beowulf: A New Verse Translation.” W. W. Norton & Company; 1st
Edition, 2001. Print.
Swift, Jonathan. “A Modest Proposal.” Watchmaker Publishing, 2010. Print.
2 Informative Essay Examples
One more thing that a student might lack after reading the article is the informative essay examples. It would take a while to include the entire essay. Read some of the extracts from the most inspiring informative essays written by high school & college students.
It is a good example developed based on one of the top informative essay topics.
Bonus Informative Essay Example on Business
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Deciding on the Top Informative Essay Topics
It is a good chance to demonstrate a personal area of competence if the tutor does not assign a specific topic, leaving the right to choose one. It is not easy. The student has to conduct in-depth research on the most recent news to discover the widely discussed/debated problem in the society. An interesting title supports the right choice of topic.
The best students & professors from the top-rated colleges agreed to share their most effective informative essay topics with the readers of this post. We have divided the topics into separate categories to make it easier to follow.
Informative Essay Topics for College Students
- Informative essay topics associated with vegetarianism
- Computer viruses: types, causes, & consequences
- The usage and outcomes of surprising-reversal strategies
- Great Depression: Its role in history, causes, events, & results
- Shakespeare’s influence on the development of modern British literature
- Football vs. soccer: Their differences & role in sports
- How does the United States handle racial issues?
- Is it possible to minimize the level of pollution in towns?
- Stressful situations in the student’s life
- Measures people can take to reduce the level of domestic violence in the US
Good Informative Essay Topics
- Simple ways to decrease the rates of poverty in the United States
- Information students should know to conduct in-depth research
- Does placebo help to overcome real-life threats?
- How can one write a speech to persuade the audience?
- Why is thesis statement important in academic essay writing?
- Things people should create in XXI century
- Introduction to the world of Stephen King
- How to choose the best idea out of a pool of good ideas
- The time does not change population for better
- New world’s order
Informative Essay Topics for Middle School
- General information on how to compose music
- Interesting facts about the world’s wonders of nature
- Everything related to cooking a fish
- Words that can best describe summer time
- Example of using mobile apps in the process of learning
- Plastic surgery: pros & cons
- Photography: Its history & development
- Several ways to stay healthy with the help of popular foods
- Drug addiction and how to get rid of it
- What defines the best friend: A philosophy of friendship
Relatively Easy Informative Essay Topics
- Three things every business startup should keep in mind
- Ways to find a way out of any legal situation
- Gun control: General information
- Methods to release from drug addiction
- Main causes of child obesity and its treatment
- Traits that make people with bipolar disorder stand out from the rest of the population
- Bullying in high schools
- Do preventive disciplinary measures in school help to improve students’ behavior?
- Who can help with informative essay writing?
- Will humanity ever create a machine capable of cloning people?
We have covered the best informative essay topics along with the essay’s structure, research process, and some other tips that help students around the world to succeed in their academic performance. Do you have any questions left? It does not matter whether you are a high school or college student – if you have no idea how to complete a specific informative essay, make an order at the official website of the leading online essay writing company in the United States!