Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Esterline, Albert C. Dr.


Individual tutoring provides a substantial improvement over traditional classroom instruction. Researchers in tutoring and tutoring systems have approached the study of why tutoring is effective and came to varying conclusions. Both quantitative and qualitative research was performed. The quantitative research addresses the questions: would students use the tools of student construction to help solve problems, and would a tutor designed using elements from tutoring theory allow students to solve multicolumn addition problems without assistance. The tutor was designed to scaffold for student construction, help students resolve impasses, provide positive and negative feedback, and use a five step dialog frame. Cognitive modeling used production from ACT-R theory. Quantitative research has not been able to definitively answer the question of what makes tutoring effective. Qualitative research was used in an attempt to generate a hypothesis regarding effective tutoring rather that testing one. The qualitative method used was focus groups. The tutor developed was used as a pre-cursor to the focus group discussion. The focus group was used to get qualitative data on what student’s thought was effective in a tutor. The students were able to successfully use the tutor to solve multicolumn addition problems. The qualitative research process generated a hypothesis about tutoring effectiveness.