Evaluating self-explanations in iSTART: Word matching, latent semantic analysis, and topic models

Chutima Boonthum, Irwin B. Levinstein, Danielle S. McNamara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


iSTART (Interactive Strategy Trainer for Active Reading and Thinking) is a webbased, automated tutor designed to help students become better readers via multimedia technologies. It provides young adolescent to college-aged students with a program of self-explanation and reading strategy training [19] called Self-Explanation Reading Training, or SERT [17], [21], [24], [25]. The reading strategies include (a) comprehension monitoring, being aware of one's understanding of the text; (b) paraphrasing, or restating the text in different words; (c) elaboration, using prior knowledge or experiences to understand the text (i.e., domain-specific knowledge-based inferences) or common sense, using logic to understand the text (i.e., domain-general knowledge based inferences); (d) predictions, predicting what the text will say next; and (e) bridging, understanding the relation between separate sentences of the text. The overall process is called self-explanation because the reader is encouraged to explain difficult text to him- or herself. iSTART consists of three modules: Introduction, Demonstration, and Practice. In the last module, students practice using reading strategies by typing self-explanations of sentences. The system evaluates each self-explanation and then provides appropriate feedback to the student. If the explanation is irrelevant or too short, the student is required to add more information. Otherwise, the feedback is based on the level of overall quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNatural Language Processing and Text Mining
PublisherSpringer London
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)184628175X, 9781846281754
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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