ITSS (Intelligent Tutoring for the Structure Strategy) is a web-based approach in which students are taught to comprehend nonfiction text by categorizing text structures using key elements in the text to find the main idea, activating prior knowledge, supporting cognitive monitoring, and using graphic organizers and flow charts to summarize texts. ITSS is used during regular language arts classes 30-45 minutes a week. Animated “tutors” model and guide learners. Students practice, take regular assessments, and proceed at their own pace through self-instructional units. In the qualifying research, paraprofessionals helped students with the software.
ITSS was evaluated in 108 7th grade classrooms in 25 rural and suburban schools. These were randomly assigned to receive the program or serve as controls. On the Gray Silent Reading Test, the effect size after 6-7 months was +0.18, qualifying ITSS for the ESSA “Strong” category. Positive effects were also found in grades 4 and 5.
Part-time system administrator, plus teacher aide for computer lab time
The developers offer 2 days for teachers and school leaders followed by 4 in-school coaching sessions. In the research, the developers generated biweekly reports for the teachers showing student progress, contacted teachers when usage was below the recommended amount, and responded to technology and software challenges via phone or school visit to resolve the issues. Similar levels of support should be included if outcomes like those in the research are to be attained.