Site announcements

AutoTutor-ARC Joins CREATE Network

by Halle Smith -
AutoTutor for Adult Reading Comprehension (AutoTutor-ARC) has been accepted as a part of a national initiative called the CREATE Network. Funded by the IES and led by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), the CREATE network strives to support teaching and learning by researching technology-enabled instruction. With CREATE, AutoTutor-ARC prioritizes research making technology-enabled instruction accessible to adult education instructors and students.

Also in the CREATE network are projects from WestEd, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Minnesota-Duluth, AIR, EdTech Center @ World Education, and Georgia State University.

The CREATE Network’s webpage can be found at this link.

Upcoming Presentation at COABE

by Halle Smith -

Members from the AdultEd Research team will represent AutoTutor and SARA at the COABE National Conference 2022. In addition, Dr. Sabatini will present with the MAPT and ASAP project. The presentations are detailed below: 

April 11, 2022: Dr. Sabatini, E. Halle Smith, Arthur Graesser, and John Hollander will present “Digital Resources for Adult Literacy Learners and Programs: Reading, Comprehension, and Assessment Tools.” In this presentation, they will overview digital resources being researched and developed by the AdultEd Center from the University of Memphis. One resource is an adult learner assessment system that can be used for placement, diagnosis, progress monitoring, and outcome assessment. Another is the web-based AutoTutor for Adult Reading Comprehension. Finally, they will demonstrate how to access and participate with AdultEd’s website portal, a hub for these resources and further information.

April 11, 2022: Dr. Sireci, Dr. Oliveri, Dr. Sabatini, and Dr. Suarez-Alvarez will present “Assessing Adult Skills Through Technology: The MAPT and ASAP.” In this presentation, they will cover how the Massachusetts Adult Proficiency Tests leverages technology to meet accountability demands. The new Adult Skills Assessment Project - a federally funded research initiative - will identify and assess the most pressing skills adult learners need. They will describe the work on designing customized assessments to support learners’ skill acquisition and validate these skills to align with adult education and workplace settings. A discussant will provide commentary on the two projects and solicit audience feedback.

Upcoming Presentations at AERA

by Halle Smith -

Representing the AdultEd research team, Dr. John Sabatini and John Hollander will present their research at the 2022 AERA Annual Meeting. They will be presenting two posters, described below.

April 23, 2022:  In AERA Virtual Poster Room 1, Dr. Sabatini, John Hollander, and Dr. O’Reilly will present “Comparing Foundational Skills of Adolescents to Adult Learners.” In this presentation, the researchers compare the foundational skills results of students in 5th and 8th grade to adults participating in educational programs. Both groups completed a battery of subtests including word recognition/decoding, vocabulary, and morphology. The researchers found different patterns of results across the three groups. Specifically, the adult group showed relatively weaker growth in word recognition/decoding than the adolescents, as well as different error and response time patterns. The study adds to the literature on similarities and differences in adolescent and adult reading skills.

April 26, 2022: In AERA Virtual Poster Room 9, Dr. Sabatini, John Hollander, Dr. O’Reilly, and Dr. Wang will present “A Middle-Grade-Level Trajectory of Reading Component Skills.” This presentation first introduces that reading comprehension involves the efficient coordination of print and linguistic skills. However, reading instruction often shifts in middle school from developing these skills to focusing on discourse-level processes. Reading ability assessments at this level often treat comprehension as a singular skill. Consequently, understanding of how reading subskills develop across ages/grades is underdeveloped. This study examines a dataset of students using a component reading skills assessment. Results indicate differences in word recognition and decoding, vocabulary, and morphological awareness across grade levels. Further, word recognition and decoding error rates indicate how decoding strategies develop. Students become both more accurate and more efficient at identifying vocabulary words and morphological inflections, demonstrating how typical reading instruction may affect reading component skills over time.

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