Feng, M, Heffernan, N., Heffernan, C. & Mani, M. (2009). Using mixed-effects modeling to analyze different grain-sized skill models in an Intelligent Tutoring System. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 79-92, Apr.-June 2009, doi:10.1109/TLT.2009.17.(Featured article of the Aprial-June issue)
Student modeling and cognitive diagnostic assessment are important issues that need to be addressed for the development and successful application of intelligent tutoring systems (ITS). ITS needs the construction of complex models to represent the skills that students are using and their knowledge states, and practitioners want cognitively diagnostic information at a finer grained level. Traditionally, most assessments treat all questions on the test as sampling a single underlying knowledge component. Can we have our cake and eat it, too? That is, can we have a good overall prediction of a high stakes test, while at the same time be able to tell teachers meaningful information about fine-grained knowledge components? In this paper, we introduce an online intelligent tutoring system that has been widely used. We then present some encouraging results about a fine-grained skill model with the system that is able to predict state test scores. This model allows the system track about 106 knowledge components for eighth grade math. In total, 921 eighth grade students were involved in the study. We show that our fine-grained model could improve prediction compared to other coarser grained models and an IRT-based model. We conclude that this intelligent tutoring system can be a good predictor of performance.