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Pilot study of an intervention based on an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) for instructing mathematical skills of students with ASD and/or ID

Abstract

Few technology-based interventions have addressed mathematical and numeracy skills of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, children and adolescents with ASD may experience difficulties in mathematical learning, and even be behind their peers at school. Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) is an innovative way for enhancing teaching programs through learning optimization algorithms coping interindividual differences in the educational curriculum progress. They have been used with success with typically-developed students for levering on the linkage learning-motivation, but remains at a theoretical stage for students with ASD and/or intellectual disability (ID). We conducted a pilot study to assess an ITS-based intervention embedded into the KidLearn application for instructing mathematical skills (i.e., adding and subtracting numbers between 0 and 100). Twenty-four secondary school students with ASD and/or intellectual disability, enrolled from special education classrooms, have been recruited: 14 students received the KidLearn intervention, while the 10 others received control intervention. Pre-post assessments showed that calculation and motivational measures were significantly improved in KidLearn condition compared to the control condition. ITS intervention appeared relevant for calculation learning in the setting of special education.

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Notes

  1. COERLE stands for “operational committee for the assessment of legal and ethical risks”. This committee is responsible for examining research projects and experimental studies in terms of legal and ethical issues. The COERLE is seized before the study to verify the risks of harm to individuals.

  2. CNIL stands for “national committee of informatics and liberty”. The CNIL in a French independent administrative authority responsible for ensuring that technological products and services do not infringe citizen’s identity and privacy, and that they respect human rights and individual freedom.

  3. The test-retest reliability is a psychometric quality of great importance in pre-post assessments, since it considers the stability of the scores of the same individual over time. The test-retest reliability is assessed through the examination of the stability of the scores between two assessments, using intra-class correlations. The higher the correlation, the more stable the score are over time. If the coefficient is below 0.70, the test is likely to be sensitive to learning effects (Bernaud, 2014).

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Acknowledgements

The authors express their gratitude to the children, their families and school staffs who participated to the study. The authors gratefully acknowledge the academy and the rectorate of Bordeaux as well as the head of the special education sector, for their support in the project and the recruitment of special education classrooms. The authors also acknowledge the financial support provided by the Orange Foundation and Inria Bordeaux Sud-Ouest. Finally, the authors thank Alexander Ten for his help in the final revision of the article.

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CM: Conceptualization; Methodology; Investigation; Formal analysis; Writing – original draft; BC: Conceptualization; Software; Resources; Data curation; DR: Conceptualization; Software; Resources; Methodology; PYO: Conceptualization; Validation; Supervision; Project administration; Funding acquisition; HS: Conceptualization; Methodology; Validation; Writing – Review & Editing; Supervision; Project administration; Funding acquisition.

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Correspondence to Cécile Mazon or Hélène Sauzéon.

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Mazon, C., Clément, B., Roy, D. et al. Pilot study of an intervention based on an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) for instructing mathematical skills of students with ASD and/or ID. Educ Inf Technol (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-022-11129-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-022-11129-x

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Intelligent tutoring system
  • Mathematical instruction
  • Special need education