Albert T. Corbett

Senior Research Scientist
School of Computer Science
Human-Computer Interaction Institute

3605 Newell-Simon Hall
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3891

Phone: 412.268.8808
FAX: 412.268.2844

Research interests
My primary goals are to enhance the pedagogical effectiveness of computer-based learning environments and to dramatically expand their impact on educational practice. For more than a decade cognitive computer tutors for programming and mathematics have served as the principal experimental tools in this research, which has evolved in two-related directions (1) Development, evaluation and dissemination of cognitive tutors for middle school and high school mathematics and (2) Empirical evaluation of basic cognitive tutor design.

Successful cognitive tutor design relies on a cognitive analysis of the target learning domain. This analysis in turn guides tutor interface design and construction of a cognitive model of the conceptual knowledge and goal-oriented problem-solving rules students acquire in learning a skill. The resulting cognitive model is employed to interpret student problem-solving actions and provide help as needed. We are currently developing cognitive tutors for middle school and high school mathematics, piloting them in local classrooms, subjecting the tutors to formative and summative evaluations of their effectiveness and working to disseminate the tutors widely.

In the course of this broad research and development project we are undertaking experimental studies to establish basic principles of effective computer tutor design. These studies examine such topics as the content and timing of help messages and their impact of students’ attitudes and learning rates, plan scaffolding, augmented feedback, and the dynamic assessment of students’ changing knowledge in problem solving.


Corbett, A.T., Trask, H. J., Scarpinatto, K.C. and Hadley, W.S. (1998)
A formative evaluation of the PACT Algebra II Tutor: Support for simple hierarchical reasoning
Intelligent tutoring systems: Fourth international conference

Corbett, A.T. and Bhatnagar, A. (1997)
Student modeling in the ACT Programming Tutor: Adjusting a procedural learning model with declarative knowledge
Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on User Modeling
New York: Springer-Verlag Wein

Corbett, A.T., Koedinger, K.R. and Anderson, J.R. (1997)
Intelligent tutoring systems
In M.G. Helander, T.K. Landauer and P. Prabhu (Eds.)
Handbook of human computer interaction, 2nd edition
Amsterdam: Elsevier Science

Modugno, F., Corbett, A.T. and Myers, B.A. (1996)
Evaluating program representation in a demonstrational visual shell
In W.D. Gray and D.A. Boehm-Davis (Eds.)
Empirical studies of programmers
Norwood, NJ: Ablex
Originally published in Human Factors in Computer Systems: CHI '95 Conference Companion, 234-235

Pane, J.F., Corbett, A.T. and John, B.E. (1996)
Assessing dynamics in computer-based instruction
Proceedings of ACM CHI~96 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 197-204

Corbett, A.T. and Anderson, J.R. (1995)
Knowledge tracing: Modeling the acquisition of procedural knowledge
User modeling and user-adapted interaction, 4, 253-278