School of Human Development
For immediate release
Jenni Bullington, UTD
UTD Professor Wins Grant to Study
RICHARDSON, Texas (Dec. 10, 2001) - Dr. Richard Golden, associate professor of psychology and cognitive science in the School of Human Development at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study artificial intelligence as a means for testing the reading comprehension of children at the elementary and junior high school level.
With the award, which is worth nearly $400,000 and falls under the NSF’s Information Technology Research (ITR) Program, Golden and a team of researchers will work to develop a Web-based artificial intelligence system called ARCADE (Automatized Reading Comprehension and Diagnostic Evaluation). Through ARCADE, children will log on to a Web site and be asked to read narratives and science texts and type essay-style answers to questions about the stories. ARCADE will then automatically group together children with similar thinking styles and provide educators with suggested teaching strategies designed to improve the quality of instruction for all children in a particular classroom.
Only about six percent of the proposals submitted to the NSF’s ITR Program in the area of educational technology were selected for funding.
Golden, who also serves as program head of both the Cognitive Science Undergraduate Program and the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience Graduate Program at UTD, said he is interested in the project because typical standardized comprehension tests focus only on multiple-choice responses.
“Multiple-choice tests are good at determining some basic-reading skills but are not very good at assessing the wide range of complex skills that reflect high-level reading comprehension,” Golden said.
Although alternatives to multiple-choice testing of reading comprehension currently do exist, they have their drawbacks, Golden explained. For example, individual assessments, which require reading specialists to evaluate students on an individual basis, are difficult to implement, time-consuming, not cost-effective and subjective. Essay tests also are time-consuming and subjective, and they are not individually tailored to specific students.
“By combining state-of-the-art theories from the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology and education, we hope to demonstrate that Web-based artificial intelligence could be used to provide effective objective assessments of high-level reading comprehension that are not limited by multiple-choice question formats,” Golden said. “Methodologies such as these will enable educators to address the unique needs of their students and thereby improve the overall educational experience.”
“We are excited Dr. Golden received a grant from the NSF to study alternative intelligence testing methods,” said Dr. Bert S. Moore, professor and dean of the School of Human Development at UTD. “He is an outstanding researcher, and we are confident his findings will lead to greater understanding - and solutions - for making educational testing more effective for educators and children alike.”
Golden’s research also will help with developing new techniques in artificial intelligence, psychometric testing (the mathematics behind standardized tests) and new theoretical ideas in cognitive psychology.
Other leading scientists and educators throughout the country will participate in the research project as consultants and will help to assess the effectiveness of the ARCADE system in the classroom. The project team consists of a systems development and evaluation team headed by Dr. Golden and an assessment materials development team headed by Dr. Susan Goldman, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s Web site at www.utdallas.edu.
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This page last updated June 13, 2002