Refining Prerequisite Skill Structure Graphs Using Randomized Controlled Trials


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Prerequisite skill structure graphs represent the relationships between knowledge components. Prerequisite structure graphs also propose the order in which students in a given curriculum need to be taught specific knowledge components in order to assist them build on previous knowledge and improve achievement in those subject domains. The importance of accurate prerequisite skill structure graphs can therefore not be overemphasized. In view of this, many approaches have been employed by domain experts to design and implement these prerequisite structures. A number of data mining techniques have also been proposed to infer these knowledge structures from learner performance data. These methods have achieved varied degrees of success. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, none of the methods have employed extensive randomized controlled trials to learn about prerequisite skill relationships among skills. In this dissertation, we motivate the need for using randomized controlled trials to refine prerequisite skill structure graphs. Additionally, we present PLACEments, an adaptive testing system that uses a prerequisite skill structure graph to identify gaps in students’ knowledge. Students with identified gaps are assisted with more practice assignments to ensure that the gaps are closed. PLACEments additionally allows for randomized controlled experiments to be performed on the underlying prerequisite skill structure graph for the purpose of refining the structure. We present some of the different experiment categories which are possible in PLACEments and report the results of one of these experiment categories. The ultimate goal is to inform domain experts and curriculum designers as they create policies that govern the sequencing and pacing of contents in learning domains whose content lend themselves to sequencing. By extension students and teachers who apply these policies benefit from the findings of these experiments.

  • English
  • etd-042518-225911
Defense date
  • 2018
Date created
  • 2018-04-25
Resource type
Rights statement
Last modified
  • 2021-02-01


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