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Blocking Vs. Interleaving: Examining Single-Session Effects Within Middle School Math Homework

  • Korinn Ostrow
  • Neil Heffernan
  • Cristina Heffernan
  • Zoe Peterson
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9112)

Abstract

The benefit of interleaving cognitive content has gained attention in recent years, specifically in mathematics education. The present study serves as a conceptual replication of previous work, documenting the interleaving effect within a middle school sample through brief homework assignments completed within ASSISTments, an adaptive tutoring platform. The results of a randomized controlled trial are presented, examining a practice session featuring interleaved or blocked content spanning three skills: Complementary and Supplementary Angles, Surface Area of a Pyramid, and Compound Probability without Replacement. A second homework session served as a delayed posttest. Tutor log files are analyzed to track student performance and to establish a metric of global mathematics skill for each student. Findings suggest that interleaving is beneficial in the context of adaptive tutoring systems when considering learning gains and average hint usage at posttest. These observations were especially relevant for low skill students.

Keywords

Interleaving Blocking Adaptive tutoring system Mathematics education Randomized controlled trial 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Korinn Ostrow
    • 1
  • Neil Heffernan
    • 1
  • Cristina Heffernan
    • 1
  • Zoe Peterson
    • 2
  1. 1.Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Carleton CollegeNorthfieldUSA

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