Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tag-Aware Ordinal Sparse Factor Analysis for Learning and Content Analytics

So it looks like Andrew Lan et al improved on SPARFA, a matrix factorization technique to help in education analytics. We had Andew talk at the Paris Machine Learning meetup #11 season 1.

Tag-Aware Ordinal Sparse Factor Analysis for Learning and Content Analytics by Andrew S. Lan, Christoph Studer, Andrew E. Waters, Richard G. Baraniuk

Machine learning offers novel ways and means to design personalized learning systems wherein each student's educational experience is customized in real time depending on their background, learning goals, and performance to date. SPARse Factor Analysis (SPARFA) is a novel framework for machine learning-based learning analytics, which estimates a learner's knowledge of the concepts underlying a domain, and content analytics, which estimates the relationships among a collection of questions and those concepts. SPARFA jointly learns the associations among the questions and the concepts, learner concept knowledge profiles, and the underlying question difficulties, solely based on the correct/incorrect graded responses of a population of learners to a collection of questions. In this paper, we extend the SPARFA framework significantly to enable: (i) the analysis of graded responses on an ordinal scale (partial credit) rather than a binary scale (correct/incorrect); (ii) the exploitation of tags/labels for questions that partially describe the question{concept associations. The resulting Ordinal SPARFA-Tag framework greatly enhances the interpretability of the estimated concepts. We demonstrate using real educational data that Ordinal SPARFA-Tag outperforms both SPARFA and existing collaborative filtering techniques in predicting missing learner responses.  
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