Carnegie Mellon University
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Optimizing Student Models for Causality

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-01-01, 00:00 authored by Benjamin Shih, Kenneth Koedinger, Richard Scheines
Complex student models often include key parameters critical to their behavior and effectiveness. For example, one meta-cognitive model of student help-seeking in intelligent tutors includes 15 rules and 10 parameters. We explore whether or not this model can be improved both in accuracy and generalization by using a variety of techniques to select and tune parameters.We show that such techniques are important by demonstrating that the normal method of fitting parameters on an initial data set generalizes poorly to new test data sets. We then show that stepwise regression can improve generalization, but at a cost to initial performance. Finally, we show that causal search algorithms can yield simpler models that perform comparably on test data, but without the loss in training set performance. The resulting help-seeking model is easier to understand and classifies a more realistic number of student actions as help-seeking errors.


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