solving in areas of science. Teachers participate in professional development experiences with the IMMEX system and learn to use the various tools to develop problem sets that then become part of their overall curriculum-instruction-assessment environment. Students work on problems in the IMMEX system, and feedback can be generated at multiple levels of detail for both teacher and student. For the teacher, data are available on how individual students and whole classes are doing on particular problems, as well as over time on multiple problems. At a deeper level of analysis, teachers and students can obtain visual maps of their search through the problem space for the solution to a given problem. These maps are rich in information, and teachers and students can use them in multiple ways to review and discuss the problem-solving process. By comparing earlier maps with later ones, teachers and students can also judge refinements in problem-solving processes and strategies (see Vendelinski and Stevens, 2000, for examples of this process).
Technology-based assessment tools are not limited to mathematics and science. Summary Street, experimental software for language arts, helps middle school students improve their reading comprehension and writing skills by asking them to write summaries of materials they have read. Using a text analysis program based on LSA, the computer compares the summary with the original text and analyzes it for certain information and features. The program also gives students feedback on how to improve their summaries before showing them to their teachers (Kintsch, Steinhart, Stahl, LSA Research Group, Matthews, and Lamb, 2000). Research with this system has shown substantial improvements in students’ summary generation skills, which generalize to other classes and are independent of having further access to the Summary Street software program (Kintsch et al, 2000).
The preceding examples are not an exhaustive list of instances in which technology has been used to create formative assessment tools that incorporate various aspects of cognitive and measurement theory. An especially important additional example is the integration of concept mapping tools, discussed earlier, into instructional activities (see Mintzes et al., 1998). In the next section, we consider other examples of the use of technology-assisted formative assessment tools in the instructional process. In many of these cases, the tools are an integral part of a more comprehensive, technology-enhanced learning environment.
Some of the most powerful technology-enhanced innovations that link curriculum, instruction, and assessment focus on aspects of the mathematics and science curriculum that have heretofore been difficult to teach. Many of these designs were developed jointly by researchers and educators using