Intelligent Tutoring System for Adult Literacy Enhancement

Period of Performance: 12/22/1998 - 12/22/2000


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Stottler Henke Associates
1650 South Amphlett Boulevard, Suite 300
San Mateo, CA 94402
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


25% of the Navy's enlisted population scores below the eighth grade level in literacy skills. There is a need, therefore, to improve the reading ability of adults up to the twelfth grade level. Existing computer-based literacy training systems fail to meet the needs of the Navy, either because they address very low-level literacy skills, or because they do not provide adult-appropriate content. Moreover, such systems do not provide any means for expanding the curriculum to include reading material specific to the Navy. This proposal describes an Intelligent Tutoring Systems approach to the problem. An Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) is tutoring software that can tailor instruction to an individual student's requirements, and can provide intelligent instructional support similar to human instructors. As a part of an SBIR Phase I effort, we have developed an ITS that can model a student's reading abilities and provide customized instruction. Furthermore, we have implemented a prototype that demonstrates the feasibility of our approach. We have also developed a prototype authoring tool that allows non-programmers to expand the set of reading material available to the tutor. The objective of the Phase II effort will be to expand the Phase I design and develop a fully-functional ITS for enhancing adult literacy. The ITS will be accompanied by a fully-functional authoring tool for adding new reading material. The ITS and the authoring tool resulting from Phase II will be of benefit not only to the Navy, but also to other branches of the military and the government as well as to the adult community in general. The ITS can be used at adult education centers, job corps training centers, and by other commercial organizations desiring to improve literacy among their employees.