Intelligent tutoring systems often rely on interactive tutored problem solving to help students learn math, which requires students to work through problems step-by-step while the system provides help and feedback. This approach has been shown to be effective in improving student performance in numerous studies. However, tutored problem solving may not be the most effective approach for all students. In a previous study, we found that tutored problem solving was more effective than less interactive approaches, such as simply presenting a worked out solution, for students who were not proficient in math. More proficient students benefited more from seeing solutions rather than going through all of the steps. However, our previous study controlled for the number of problems done and tutored problem solving takes significantly more time than other approaches. We wanted to determine whether tutored problem solving was worth the extra time it took or if students would benefit from practice on more problems in the same amount of time. This study compares tutored problem solving to presenting solutions while controlling for time. We found that more proficient students clearly benefit more from seeing solutions than from tutored problem solving when we control for time, while less proficient students benefit slightly more from tutored problem solving.
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