Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Ryan Baker, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Neil T. Heffernan, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Ivon Arroyo, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Erin Ottmar, Committee Member




Educators and educational researchers constantly strive to find effective instructional methods that meet the needs of struggling students. There is a well-established relationship between self-regulated learning and academic achievement. Therefore, a great deal of research has been conducted examining the effectiveness of interventions designed to develop self-regulated learning sub-processes including goal setting, help-seeking behavior, self-monitoring, and causal attributions. One particular sub-process that has gained significant attention is self-motivation beliefs, which includes goal orientation. Developing a growth mindset, or the belief that that intelligence is malleable, has been found to increase student learning. Intelligent tutoring systems have also been incorporated into K-12 education to help differentiate instruction and improve learning outcomes. There have been several empirical studies that have attempted to develop help-seeking behavior and growth mindset with interventions delivered by intelligent tutoring systems. Initially, the goal of this dissertation was to increase student learning by developing self-regulated learning through the use of an intelligent tutoring system. Preliminary attempts failed to modify student beliefs and behavior. As a result, a series of additional randomized controlled trials were conducted. This dissertation is a compilation of those studies, which attempted to leverage ASSISTments, an intelligent tutoring system, to improve student learning in mathematics. Each randomized controlled trial introduced an intervention, based on prior work, designed to address at least one aspect of self-regulated learning and measure the effect on learning. Most of the studies were unsuccessful in producing significant changes in either self-regulation or learning, failing to support the findings of prior research. Survey results suggest that students are reluctant to engage in certain self-regulated learning behaviors, like self-recording, because of the frustration caused when answering a question incorrectly. Based on the findings from these studies, recommendations for potential interventions and future research are discussed.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Learning Sciences and Technologies

Project Type


Date Accepted





educational research, Intelligent tutoring systems, learning sciences, mathematics instruction, self-regulated learning