The feature that students like most about Cognitive Tutor is the skillometer. What is a skillometer, you ask? As the word skill-o-meter implies, it is a meter that keeps track of your math skills in real time as you work through the problems. Now that’s what you call immediate feedback!
Look at the upper right corner of the web page. The skillometer is a row of green bars. Each bar represents a math skill that you are trying to master. The green bar increases for every question you answer correctly. On the down side, it also decreases for every question you answer incorrectly. Hint: the fewer mistakes you make, the less number of problems you have to work out! Slow down and don’t rush.
Eventually, the green bar should hit gold. This means that you have a 95% chance of correctly answering a similar question targeting that skill. You should see how excited these teenagers get when they see gold! It’s a great motivation to push the students to continue when sometimes they would rather quit. Once all the bars turn gold, you get promoted to the next unit.
If you click on the darker green upside down triangle, a list of the skills will appear. The more skills that are listed, that more dynamic the bars are. If there is only one or two skills, then students will have to work at least a dozen problems before the bar will even budge.
“Mrs. Park! Cognitive Tutor must be broken.”
“I’ve worked 100 problems and it won’t move me on!”
The English teacher will be happy to know that our students are great at coming up with hyperboles.