Announcement of Ph.D. in Education Dissertation Proposal Defense Amy Adair: “AI-Driven Assessment and Scaffolding for Mathematical Modeling and Explanations during Science Investigations”

10:00 am - 11:30 am

Developing models, using mathematics, and constructing explanations are three practices essential for science inquiry learning according to education reform efforts, such as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013). However, students struggle with these intersecting practices, especially when developing and interpreting mathematical models (i.e., graphs and corresponding equations) of scientific phenomena and writing explanations that connect the mathematical representations to their scientific meaning. As such, students require targeted support to address their difficulties while they are working in science inquiry contexts. Thus, recent work with the Inquiry Intelligent Tutoring System (Inq-ITS) virtual lab environment focuses on the design and development of performance-based formative assessments with the goal of automatically assessing and supporting students on fine-grained components underlying mathematical modeling and explanation writing. In this proposal, I describe three studies aimed to evaluate the efficacy of the automated scaffolds in the Inq-ITS environment and extend the automated assessment capabilities to students’ written explanations about their mathematical models. Findings will inform how innovative technologies, such as virtual inquiry environments, can be used to assess and support NGSS-aligned mathematical modeling and explanation writing competencies in science inquiry contexts, thus preparing students for future success in mathematics and science.

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