WWC review of this study

An Experiment to Evaluate the Efficacy of Cognitive Tutor Geometry

Pane, John F.; McCaffrey, Daniel F.; Slaughter, Mary Ellen; Steele, Jennifer L.; Ikemoto, Gina S. (2010). Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, v3 n3 p254-281. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ888770

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: July 2016

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Geometry outcomes—Statistically significant negative effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Baltimore County Public School District (BCPS) Geometry Assessment

Cognitive Tutor® Geometry vs. Business as usual

9 Months

High school students;
669 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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The study was conducted in eight high schools in the Baltimore County Public School District. Two of the study schools participated in each of 3 academic years (2005–06 to 2007–08), three participated for 2 years, and three participated for 1 year.

Study sample

Among the analytic student sample, 76% were minorities, and 36% were eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention classrooms were taught using Cognitive Tutor® Geometry for an entire academic school year. The curriculum included teacher-directed classroom instruction (60% of classroom time) and computer-guided individual instruction (40% of classroom time). Both components focused on inductive problem solving. During classroom instruction, the teacher led students through math problems and assisted them as they worked in groups to solve additional problems, after which students presented their groups’ work to the class. During computer-guided instruction, students worked through math problems matched to their current ability. The software has several interactive, feedback-driven features, so it tailors the difficulty of the problem to the student’s demonstrated mastery. The student is able to ask the software for hints when solving problems.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison classrooms were taught using the school’s standard geometry curriculum, which was not specified in the study.

Support for implementation

Each study teacher received 3 days of training on Cognitive Tutor® Geometry prior to using the curriculum. In addition, each teacher received 1 day of follow-up training during the school year. The curriculum included a pacing guide designed by the district to ensure that the district’s required geometry content would be covered in the intervention classrooms.


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