WWC review of this study

What evidence matters? A randomized field trial of Cognitive Tutor® Algebra I

Ritter, S., Kulikowich, J., Lei, P., McGuire, C., & Morgan, P. (2007). In T. Hirashima, H. U. Hoppe, & S. Shwu-Ching Young (Eds.), Supporting learning flow through integrative technologies (pp. 13–20). Netherlands: IOS Press. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: September 2016

Does not meet WWC standards

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

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: June 2016

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Algebra outcomes—Substantively important positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Educational Testing Service (ETS) End-of-Course Algebra Test

Cognitive Tutor Algebra I vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grade 9;
255 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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    Native American
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Study was conducted on 9th graders (14-15 year olds) in Moore Independent School District, near Oklahoma City, OK.

Study sample

The study included 9th graders (14-15 year olds). No other sample characteristics were provided for this sample of students. The district is described as 65 percent White, 18 percent Native American, 5 percent Black, 5 percent Asian, and 4 percent Hispanic.

Intervention Group

Cognitive Tutor classes involve three components: text, intelligent tutoring software, and teacher training. Students spend 2 class periods per week in the computer lab using software, which tracks the progress of student understanding. (The study was conducted in the first year of Cognitive Tutor implementation.)

Comparison Group

McDougal-Littell Heath Algebra I was used by the comparison classrooms. The authors refer to the comparison curriculum as a traditional textbook.

Support for implementation

Teachers attended 4 days of initial training (before teaching with Cognitive Tutor) to familiarize themselves with the software, learn the pedagogical approaches used during classroom instruction, and learn techniques for integrating the software and classroom instruction.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Carnegie Learning, Inc. (2004). Carnegie Learning research report: Moore Independent School District. Pittsburgh, PA: Author.

  • Morgan, P., & Ritter, S. (2002). An experimental study of the effects of Cognitive Tutor® Algebra I on student knowledge and attitude. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Learning, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.carnegielearning.com


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