Document Type



This paper presents a behavioral model for conceptualizing advanced reading comprehension as a “higher order” behavior class. Also discussed are strategies and tactics utilized by an artificially intelligent adaptive tutoring and testing software system designed to shape such comprehension skills while also teaching subject-specific “content” to college students. The system, called MediaMatrix, offers internet delivery of relatively traditional textbook content using highly individualized and adaptive tutorial and assessment procedures (Ray, 1995a; 1995b, 2004). Extant and new research on the effectiveness of this system is presented, with particular emphasis on a preliminary study of students in two small sections of an introductory psychology course. Students were evaluated during early (pre) and late (post) portions of the semester using two equivalent forms of a specially constructed SA T/GRE type reading comprehension test. A statistically significant 17% gain from pre-to-post reading comprehension scores was observed, suggesting that both the behavioral model and the MediaMatrix strategies and tactics for shaping such higher order behaviors merit further research. Practical implications of teaching both specific course content and higher order behaviors such as reading comprehension without direct teacher contact are especially noted.