The Research Behind Inq-ITS

Inq-ITS has been thoroughly researched and tested to ensure that it helps students, teachers, and schools in their science education.  Our research has been funded and backed by both the National Science Foundation and US Department of Education.


Inq-ITS Rigorously Assesses Lab Work AND Writing

Cutting-edge assessment algorithms auto-grade how students execute science practices, instead of using multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank. Algorithms score practices like forming questions, collecting data, interpreting data, and warranting claims with evidence. Our algorithms were tested across multiple inquiry activities and diverse students and match human hand-grading with high precision (ranging from 84% to 99%; Gobert et al. 2012, 2013; Sao Pedro et al. 2013a,b, 2014). Our natural language processing algorithms evaluate how students write about their lab work using the “Claim-Evidence-Reasoning” framework. Our algorithms correlate with human scoring between 84% and 97% (Li et al., 2017b).


Why Performance Assessment: Writing Alone Is Not Enough


New science standards require students to be highly proficient at both “doing” science and “writing about” science. Using students’ writing alone is not enough to determine what they know and can do. Between 30% and 50% of students are mis-assessed based on writing alone (Gobert, US News & World Report, 2016). Many students parrot shallow knowledge with no understanding, and many others can demonstrate science skills but cannot express what they know in words (Li et al. 2017a,b; Li et al. 2018a,c,d,e). Inq-ITS assesses and helps develop both competencies.

Inq-ITS AI Virtual Coach Helps Students Learn and Transfer Competencies

Our built-in artificial intelligence-driven virtual coach helps students get better at science practices. Several randomized controlled studies show that the virtual coach helps students learn science practices (e.g. Sao Pedro et al. 2013b; Moussavi et al. 2016) and also helps them transfer their knowledge of the practices to different science topics and domains (e.g. Sao Pedro et al. 2013b; Li et al. 2019), even after 180 days (Li et al. 2019).


Inq-Blotter Alerts Enable Teachers to Help More Students More Effectively


Inq-Blotter alerts teachers exactly when and exactly how and individual student (or the whole class) struggles at inquiry. In a randomized controlled pilot study, middle school teachers who used Inq-Blotter were able to help twice as many students than teachers who did not. The help given by teachers (triggered by Inq-Blotter) improved student performance on their next Inq-ITS lab, particularly for interpreting data and warranting claims competencies (Sao Pedro et al. 2019).


Research Shows

Our Spring 2020 students either maintained or significantly improved their science inquiry competencies! 

Our Research Publications