April 20, 2006 Mathematics underpins our understanding of the universe – it provides a lingua franca for everything we can measure and visualize. Which is why we think the new Cognitive Tutor 2006 software of the Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II mathematics curricula are so very important. Having an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher/mentor is something few people get to experience with mathematics. Having such attentive coaching and guidance available 24 hours a day during those structured learning years is a gift and it is now available in an extraordinarily advanced form. Carnegie Learning's curricula are based on more than two decades of cognitive science research at Carnegie Mellon University studying how students think, learn, and apply new knowledge in mathematics. The instructional format was developed around an artificial intelligence model that identifies weaknesses in each individual student's mastery of mathematical concepts, customizes prompts to focus on areas where the student is struggling, and prescribes new problems addressing those specific concepts. A Teacher's Toolkit provides the instructor with a report on each student's progress in each area on an ongoing basis and this works particularly well for gifted students – results with exceptional students are also exceptional. If you are a student or have a child who is a student, this is worth a look.
The Cognitive Tutor series is based on the ACT-R theory of learning, memory and performance, which has been validated by hundreds of lab and field studies. The Tutors themselves were developed using a rigorous empirical testing process resulting in over 50 publications validating the effectiveness of cognitive modeling.
Carnegie Learning's Cognitive Tutors support improved student achievement in mathematics. Research has shown that students using the Cognitive Tutor Algebra I program demonstrate 85% better performance on assessments of complex mathematical problem solving and thinking, have a 70% greater likelihood of completing subsequent Geometry and Algebra II courses and achieve 15-25% better scores on the SAT and Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test.
The first major upgrade in three years, Cognitive Tutor 2006 enhancements evolved from classroom and lab data gathered over several years and from new findings in cognitive psychology. Carnegie Learning's new Bridge to Algebra curriculum, released in February, is also developed on the new Cognitive Tutor 2006 platform.
The foundation of Cognitive Tutor 2006 is the same research-based pedagogical model that has earned Carnegie Learning's Cognitive Tutor curricula recognition as one of the most effective mathematics programs on the market. The 2006 release enhances the usability of the software with online user assistance, more relevant reports in the Teacher's Toolkit, new Look Ahead/Look Back sections, a glossary, new units of instruction, and a re-sequencing of the software units. The Cognitive Tutor text is newly organized into five soft-bound, consumable books: Student Text, Student Assignment Book, Homework Helper, Teacher's Implementation Guide with enhanced lesson maps, and Teacher's Resources and Assessments Book including new materials. The 2006 text also offers additional topics and reformatted classroom activities.
The new Algebra I and Geometry curricula are available for implementation in the Fall. Algebra II will be available in early 2007.
"Many teachers feel their students don't leave Algebra I with enough knowledge to do well in the second year of algebra, and I see this version as a very strong tool for teachers and an effective source for increasing their students' learning," said Jim Loats, Ph.D. Professor in the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at the Metropolitan State College of Denver who was part of a review team for the new version.
Independent studies of Carnegie Learning implementations across the country, including Miami-Dade, Pittsburgh, PA, Moore, OK, and Kent, WA, demonstrate that Carnegie Learning's curriculum is proven to deliver a positive shift in standardized test scores, student attitudes toward math and problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Research also indicates strong results with Title I and special-needs populations, including Exceptional Student Education students, those with limited English proficiency and students receiving free or reduced lunches.