Research that went into Ms. Lindquist: The Free Algebra Word Problem Tutoring Software

I have spent 4 years working on nothing but studying how to teach students to write algebra expressions given a word problem. This task is very important since a student can't make any use of all the algebra symbolic manipulation skills unless she can translate real world problems into the language of algebra.

I have studied how to make tutoring software that will help students learn this skill. A good place to start is this paper.

Heffernan, N. T., & Koedinger, K. R. (Accepted at the Intelligent Tutoring Systems 2000 Conference Workshop entitled "Intelligent Tutoring Systems Conference's Workshop in Algebra Leaning"). Building a 3rd generation ITS for symbolization: Adding a Tutorial Model with Multiple Tutorial Strategies. (postscript .ps -11 pages) (web page version)

I have studied what make these problems so hard. See the following paper.

Heffernan, N. T. & Koedinger, K. R. (1998). A developmental model for algebra symbolization: The results of a difficulty factors assessment. In Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, (pp. 484-489). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. (postscript .ps), (html-View Now!)

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