How teachers interpret displays of students’ gaze in reading comprehension assignments

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Carolien A. N. Knoop-van Campen
Ellen Kok
Roos van Doornik
Pam de Vries
Marleen Immink
Halszka Jarodzka
Tamara van Gog


Reading comprehension is a central skill in secondary education. To be able to provide adaptive instruction, teachers need to be able to accurately estimate students’ reading comprehension. However, they tend to experience difficulties doing so. Eye tracking can uncover these reading processes by visualizing what a student looked at, in what order, and for how long, in a gaze display. The question is, however, whether teachers could interpret such displays. We, therefore, examined how teachers interpret gaze displays and perceived their potential use in education to foster tailored support for reading comprehension. Sixty teachers in secondary education were presented with three static gaze displays of students performing a reading comprehension task. Teachers were asked to report how they interpreted these gaze displays and what they considered to be the promises and pitfalls of gaze displays for education. Teachers interpreted in particular reading strategies in the gaze displays quite well, and also interpreted the displays as reflecting other concepts, such as motivation and concentration. Results showed that teachersinterpretations of the gaze displays were generally consistent across teachers and that teachers discriminated well between displays of different strategies. Teachers were generally positive about potential applications in educational practice. This study provides first insights into how teachers experience the utility of gaze displays as an innovative tool to support reading instruction, which is timely as rapid technological developments already enable eye tracking through webcams on regular laptops. Thus, using gaze displays in an educational setting seems to be an increasingly feasible scenario.

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Knoop-van Campen, C. A. N., Kok, E., van Doornik, R., de Vries, P., Immink, M., Jarodzka, H., & van Gog, T. (2021). How teachers interpret displays of students’ gaze in reading comprehension assignments. Frontline Learning Research, 9(4), 116–140.


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