Keynote speakers

Arthur C. Graesser

Department of Psychology and Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis
Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Education and Oxford University Center of Educational Assessment, University of Oxford

Art Graesser is a Distinguished University Professor of Interdisciplinary Research professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis, and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Oxford University Center for Educational Assessment at the University of Oxford. His primary research interests are in cognitive science, discourse processing, computational linguistics, and the learning sciences. He has developed automated tutoring systems with conversational agents (such as AutoTutor and Operation ARA) and automated text analysis systems (Coh-Metrix, QUAID). He served as editor of the journal Discourse Processes (1996–2005) and Journal of Educational Psychology (2009-2014). His service in professional societies includes president of the Empirical Studies of Literature, Art, and Media (1989-1992), the Society for Text and Discourse (2007-2010), the International Society for Artificial Intelligence in Education (2007-2009), and the Federation of Associations in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Foundation (2012-13). He has chaired or been a member of expert panels for the Program for International Student Assessment and the Program of International Assessment of Adult Competencies in addition to consulting for Educational Testing Service and the College Board. He has received major lifetime research achievement awards from the Society for Text and Discourse and the American Psychological Association, as well as receiving the first University of Memphis Presidential Award for Lifetime Achievement in Research.

Assessments through Computer Analysis of Language, Discourse, and Conversation

Keynote lecture

Recent advances in computational linguistics and discourse processing have made it possible to analyze naturalistic texts and conversation on multiple levels of language and discourse. These advances are influencing the world of assessments of reading, writing, mathematics, science, reasoning, problem solving, and other competencies. This presentation reports examples of these assessments that analyze natural language. Coh-Metrix ( and analyzes texts on multiple measures of language and discourse that are aligned with multilevel theoretical frameworks of discourse comprehension and production. Several dozen measures funnel into five major factors that systematically vary as a function of types of texts (e.g., narrative versus informational) and grade level: narrativity, syntactic simplicity, word concreteness, referential cohesion, and deep (causal) cohesion. A composite measure called formality increases with low narrativity, syntactic complexity, word abstractness, and high cohesion. Coh-Metrix has also been used to analyze student writing and conversation, even though its central focus is on scaling printed text. Another direction consists of conversational agents that interact with the human in natural language. Trialogs are conversations between the human students and two computer agents that play different roles (e.g., student, tutor). Trialogs are being developed for the Internet in serious games with Pearson Education (Operation ARA), in assessments with Educational Testing Service, and in a new Center for the Study of Adult Literacy for struggling adult readers. Data mining analyses help us identify the features of conversation and text that are aligned with valid measures of assessment.

Andreas Demetriou

Department of Social Sciences, University of Nicosia, Cyprus

Andreas Demetriou is Professor of Psychology and President of the University of Nicosia Research Foundation. He is also President of the National Research Council of Cyprus. He was a professor of psychology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1975-1996), and at the University of Cyprus (1996-2008). He served in many top academic or administrative positions, such as Vice-Rector and Acting Rector of the University of Cyprus (1999-2002), founding President of the Cyprus University of Technology (2004-2008), and President of the Conference of Rectors of the Universities of Cyprus (2006-2008). He was also the Minister of Education and Culture of Cyprus (2008-2011). He is a fellow of Academia Europaea and the International Academy of Education, an Honorary Doctor of Middlesex University London and an Honorary Professor of Durham University, UK, and the Northeastern Normal University, China. He developed a theory of intellectual development that integrates the developmental and the psychometric traditions in psychology. This work is published in more than 170 books and articles.

Explicating reconceptualization and insight in intellectual development: Evidence and Educational Implications

Keynote lecture

The talk outlines a theory of changes in basic processes of the developing mind. The theory specifies a central core of inferential processes involving abstraction, representational alignment, and cognizance (AACog). AACog is self-propelled in that cognizance metarepresents abstractions and alignments generating new representations. This process develops in four cycles (prerepresentations, representations, concepts, and principles) involving two phases each (production of new mental blocks and block alignment). This sequence is related with changes in processing speed and working memory in overlapping cycles such that relations with speed are high at transitions across periods and relations with WM are high at alignment phases. Cognitive processes are organized in two major layers (i.e., processing efficiency and representational) which are gradually differentiated with age. WM predicts individual differences in learning AACog processes and AACog predict individual differences in learning in specialized domains. Insight about cognitive processes builds up in each cycle opening the way for transition to the next cycle. Implications for major disputes about development and relations with other theories are discussed. The implications for learning and learning to learning are discussed.



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