Bayesian Knowledge Tracing (BKT) is a common way of determining student knowledge of skills in adaptive educational systems and cognitive tutors. The basic BKT is a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) that models student knowledge based on five parameters: prior, learn rate, forget, guess, and slip. Expectation Maximization (EM) is often used to learn these parameters from training data. However, EM is a time-consuming process, and is prone to converging to erroneous, implausible local optima depending on the initial values of the BKT parameters. In this paper we address these two problems by using spectral learning to learn a Predictive State Representation (PSR) that represents the BKT HMM. We then use a heuristic to extract the BKT parameters from the learned PSR using basic matrix operations. The spectral learning method is based on an approximat
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