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Using response times to model student disengagement

By Joseph E. Beck


Abstract. Time on task is an important variable for learning a skill. However, learners must be focused on the learning for the time invested to be productive. Unfortunately, students do not always try their hardest to solve problems presented by computer tutors. This paper explores student disengagement and proposes a model for detecting whether a student is engaged in answering questions. This model is based on item response theory, and uses as input the difficulty of the question, how long the student took to respond, and whether the response was correct. From these data, the model determines the probability a student was actively engaged in trying to answer the question. To validate our model, we analyze 231 students ’ interactions with the 2002-2003 version of the Reading Tutor. We show that disengagement is better modeled by simultaneously estimating student proficiency and disengagement than just estimating disengagement alone. Our best model of disengagement has a correlation of-0.25 with student learning gains. The novel aspect of this work is that it requires only data normally collected by a computer tutor, and the affective model is validated against student performance on an external measure

Topics: affective diagnosis, measure of emotions, student modeling, item response theory
Year: 2004
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