We propose a novel approach to intelligent tutoring in which feedback messages are associated with constraints on correct problem solution. The knowledge state of the student is represented by the constraints that he or she does and does not violate during problem solving. Constraint-based tutoring has been implemented in SQL-Tutor, an intelligent tutoring system for teaching the database query language SQL. Empirical evaluation shows that (a) students find the system easy to use, and (b) they do better on a subsequent classroom examination than peers without experience with the system. Furthermore, learning curves are smooth when plotted in terms of individual constraints, supporting the psychological appropriateness of the constraint construct
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