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  1. A s m or e e d u c at or s i nt e gr at e t h eir c urri c ul a wit h o nli n e l e ar ni n g, it i s e a si er t o cr o w d s o ur c e c o nt e nt fr o m t h e m. Cr o w ds o ur c e d t ut ori n g h a s b e e n pr o v e n t o r eli a bl y i n cr e a s e st u d e nt s’ n e xt pr o bl e m c orr e ct n e s s. I n t hi s w or k, w e c o n fir m e d t h e fi n di n g s of a pr e vi o u s st u d y i n t hi s ar e a, wit h str o n g er c o n fi d e n c e m ar gi n s t h amore »n pr e vi o u sl y, a n d r e v e al e d t h at o nl y a p orti o n of cr o w d s o ur c e d c o nt e nt cr e at or s h a d a r eli a bl e b e n e fit t o st ud e nt s. F urt h er m or e, t hi s w or k pr o vi d e s a m et h o d t o r a n k c o nt e nt cr e at or s r el ati v e t o e a c h ot h er, w hi c h w a s u s e d t o d et er mi n e w hi c h c o nt e nt cr e at or s w er e m o st eff e cti v e o v er all, a n d w hi c h c o nt e nt cr e at or s w er e m o st eff e cti v e f or s p e ci fi c gr o u p s of st u d e nt s. W h e n e x pl ori n g d at a fr o m Te a c h er A SSI S T, a f e at ur e wit hi n t h e A S SI S T m e nt s l e ar ni n g pl atf or m t h at cr o w d s o ur c e s t ut ori n g fr o m t e a c h er s, w e f o u n d t h at w hil e o v erall t hi s pr o gr a m pr o vi d e s a b e n e fit t o st u d e nt s, s o m e t e a c h er s cr e at e d m or e eff e cti v e c o nt e nt t h a n ot h er s. D e s pit e t hi s fi n di n g, w e di d n ot fi n d e vi d e n c e t h at t h e eff e cti v e n e s s of c o nt e nt r eli a bl y v ari e d b y st u d e nt k n o wl e d g e-l e v el, s u g g e sti n g t h at t h e c o nt e nt i s u nli k el y s uit a bl e f or p er s o n ali zi n g i n str u cti o n b a s e d o n st u d e nt k n o wl e d g e al o n e. T h e s e fi n di n g s ar e pr o mi si n g f or t h e f ut ur e of cr o w d s o ur c e d t ut ori n g a s t h e y h el p pr o vi d e a f o u n d ati o n f or a s s e s si n g t h e q u alit y of cr o w d s o ur c e d c o nt e nt a n d i n v e sti g ati n g c o nt e nt f or o p p ort u niti e s t o p er s o n ali z e st u d e nt s’ e d u c ati o n.« less
  2. Open-ended questions in mathematics are commonly used by teachers to monitor and assess students’ deeper conceptual understanding of content. Student answers to these types of questions often exhibit a combination of language, drawn diagrams and tables, and mathematical formulas and expressions that supply teachers with insight into the processes and strategies adopted by students in formulating their responses. While these student responses help to inform teachers on their students’ progress and understanding, the amount of variation in these responses can make it difficult and time-consuming for teachers to manually read, assess, and provide feedback to student work. For this reason, there has been a growing body of research in developing AI-powered tools to support teachers in this task. This work seeks to build upon this prior research by introducing a model that is designed to help automate the assessment of student responses to open-ended questions in mathematics through sentence-level semantic representations. We find that this model outperforms previously published benchmarks across three different metrics. With this model, we conduct an error analysis to examine characteristics of student responses that may be considered to further improve the method.
  3. Educational content labeled with proper knowledge components (KCs) are particularly useful to teachers or content organizers. However, manually labeling educational content is labor intensive and error-prone. To address this challenge, prior research proposed machine learning based solutions to auto-label educational content with limited success. In this work, we significantly improve prior research by (1) expanding the input types to include KC descriptions, instructional video titles, and problem descriptions (i.e., three types of prediction task), (2) doubling the granularity of the prediction from 198 to 385 KC labels (i.e., more practical setting but much harder multinomial classification problem), (3) improving the prediction accuracies by 0.5–2.3% using Task-adaptive Pre-trained BERT, outperforming six baselines, and (4) proposing a simple evaluation measure by which we can recover 56–73% of mispredicted KC labels. All codes and data sets in the experiments are available at: https://github.com/tbs17/TAPT-BERT Keywords
  4. The use of computer-based systems in classrooms has provided teachers with new opportunities in delivering content to students, supplementing instruction, and assessing student knowledge and comprehension. Among the largest benefits of these systems is their ability to provide students with feedback on their work and also report student performance and progress to their teacher. While computer-based systems can automatically assess student answers to a range of question types, a limitation faced by many systems is in regard to open-ended problems. Many systems are either unable to provide support for open-ended problems, relying on the teacher to grade them manually, or avoid such question types entirely. Due to recent advancements in natural language processing methods, the automation of essay grading has made notable strides. However, much of this research has pertained to domains outside of mathematics, where the use of open-ended problems can be used by teachers to assess students' understanding of mathematical concepts beyond what is possible on other types of problems. This research explores the viability and challenges of developing automated graders of open-ended student responses in mathematics. We further explore how the scale of available data impacts model performance. Focusing on content delivered through the ASSISTments online learningmore »platform, we present a set of analyses pertaining to the development and evaluation of models to predict teacher-assigned grades for student open responses.« less
  5. We present and evaluate a machine learning based system that automatically grades audios of students speaking a foreign language. The use of automated systems to aid the assessment of student performance holds great promise in augmenting the teacher’s ability to provide meaningful feedback and instruction to students. Teachers spend a significant amount of time grading student work and the use of these tools can save teachers a significant amount of time on their grading. This additional time could be used to give personalized attention to each student. Significant prior research has focused on the grading of closed-form problems, open-ended essays and textual content. However, little research has focused on audio content that is much more prevalent in the language-study education. In this paper, we explore the development of automated assessment tools for audio responses in a college-level Chinese language-learning course. We analyze several challenges faced while working with data of this type as well as the generation and extraction of features for the purpose of building machine learning models to aid in the assessment of student language learning.
  6. There is a long history of research on the development of models to detect and study student behavior and affect. Developing computer-based models has allowed the study of learning constructs at fine levels of granularity and over long periods of time. For many years, these models were developed using features based on previous educational research from the raw log data. More recently, however, the application of deep learning models has often skipped this feature-engineering step by allowing the algorithm to learn features from the fine-grained raw log data. As many of these deep learning models have led to promising results, researchers have asked which situations may lead to machine-learned features performing better than expert-generated features. This work addresses this question by comparing the use of machine-learned and expert-engineered features for three previously-developed models of student affect, off-task behavior, and gaming the system. In addition, we propose a third feature-engineering method that combines expert features with machine learning to explore the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches to build detectors of student affect and unproductive behaviors.
  7. A prominent issue faced by the education research community is that of student attrition. While large research efforts have been devoted to studying course-level attrition, widely referred to as dropout, less research has been focused on finer-grained assignment level attrition commonly observed in K-12 classrooms. This later instantiation of attrition, referred to in this paper as “stopout,” is characterized by students failing to complete their assigned work, but the cause of such behavior are not often known. This becomes a large problem for educators and developers of learning platforms as students who give up on assignments early are missing opportunities to learn and practice the material which may affect future performance on related topics; similarly, it is difficult for researchers to develop, and subsequently difficult for computer-based systems to deploy interventions aimed at promoting productive persistence once a student has ceased interaction with the software. This difficulty highlights the importance to understand and identify early signs of stopout behavior in order to provide aid to students preemptively to promote productive persistence in their learning. While many cases of student stopout may be attributable to gaps in student knowledge and indicative of struggle, student attributes such as grit and persistence maymore »be further affected by other factors. This work focuses on identifying different forms of stopout behavior in the context of middle school math by observing student behaviors at the sub-problem level. We find that students exhibit disproportionate stopout on the first problem of their assignments in comparison to stopout on subsequent problems, identifying a behavior that we call “refusal,” and use the emerging patterns of student activity to better understand the potential causes underlying stopout behavior early in an assignment.« less
  8. We analyze teachers’ written feedback to students in an online learning environment, specifically a setting in which high school students in Uruguay are learning English as a foreign language. How complex should teachers’ feedback be? Should it be adapted to each student’s English profi- ciency level? How does teacher feedback affect the probability of engaging the student in a conversation? To explore these questions, we conducted both parametric (multilevel modeling) and non-parametric (bootstrapping) analyses of 27,627 messages exchanged between 35 teachers and 1074 students in 2017 and 2018. Our results suggest: (1) Teach- ers should adapt their feedback complexity to their students’ English proficiency level. Students who receive feedback that is too complex or too basic for their level post 13- 15% fewer comments than those who receive adapted feed- back. (2) Feedback that includes a question is associated with higher odds-ratio (17.5-19) of engaging the student in conversation. (3) For students with low English proficiency, slow turnaround (feedback after 1 week) reduces this odds ratio by 0.7. These results have potential implications for online platforms offering foreign language learning services, in which it is crucial to give the best possible learning expe- rience while judiciously allocating teachers’ time.