IMPROVING COURSE SUCCESS PREDICTION USING ABET

COURSE OUTCOMES AND GRADES

Muzaffer Ege Alper and Zehra C¸ ataltepe

Computer Engineering Department, Istanbul Technical University, Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey

Keywords:

Educational Data Mining, Bayesian Logistic Regression, Feature Selection, Course Grades, ABET Outcomes,

Computer Engineering Education, mRMR (Minimum Redundancy Maximum Relevance), Feature Selection.

Abstract:

Modeling and prediction of student success is a critical task in education. In this paper, we employ machine

learning methods to predict course grade performance of Computer Engineering students. As features, in addi-

tion to the conventional course grades we use ﬁne grained student performance measurements corresponding

to different goals (ABET outcomes) of a course. We observe that, compared to using only previous course

grades, addition of outcome grades can signiﬁcantly improve the prediction results. Using the trained model

enables interpretation of how different courses affect performance on a speciﬁc course in the future. We

think that even more detailed and systematically produced course outcome measurements can be beneﬁcial in

modeling students university performance.

1 INTRODUCTION

A key concept in designing and improving systems is

evaluation. This is even more crucial in the educa-

tional domain, considering the delicacy and “value”

of the subject matter: reproduction of a society’s best

intellectual properties in younger individuals. A pro-

duction error in any typical commodity would have a

ﬁnite and foreseeable effect on the society. The con-

sequences of problems in the educational processes,

however, are much harder to predict and may possibly

have much longer lasting effects in the society. De-

spite this, the research on the evaluation of a pipeline

in a car factory is a lot more advanced than the re-

search on the evaluation of educational processes.

Previous research on using machine learning

methodologies for student success modeling and pre-

diction are mostly centered around two tasks. The

ﬁrst task is the prediction of ﬁrst grade students’ per-

formances using the student’s available past record

(Rubin, 1980; Butcher and Muth, 1985; Campbell

and McCabe, 1984) . Student performance predic-

tion is important, because correct assessment of a stu-

dent’s capabilities is essential for selecting the right

students for the right university programs. Addition-

ally, this task can also help in early detection of stu-

dents with adaptation problems to University level

education. The second line of research focuses on

web based tutoring systems. Various machine learn-

ing methods (Romero and Ventura, 2010) have been

successfully employed for this task. However, the na-

ture of the problem in online educational services is

quite different than that of formal educational institu-

tions. Most importantly, web based educational ser-

vices store a great variety and amount of data regard-

ing students’ learning activities, such as page visit

logs, interaction logs, forum activities, etc. These fea-

tures can then be “mined” for various goals, leading

to the ﬁeld called Educational Data Mining. Although

the records of students stored in conventional univer-

sities are much less detailed than web based systems,

accreditation systems for engineering education, such

as ABET, have enabled collection of a lot more data

on both course grades and contents than before.

In this paper, we propose using additional mea-

surements on students to better model students’

course success results. The measurements include

various outcomes deﬁned by course designers. Istan-

bul Technical University, Computer Engineering De-

partment commenced outcome based measurements

of students’ performances in addition to conventional

course grades in 2005. These grades are only infor-

mative and are not used as formal grades, but they

contain valuable information regarding students’ skill

progression.

In this work, we predict student success (uncon-

ditional pass/fail) results in different courses of the

Computer Engineering program of ITU. The course

222

Alper M. and Çataltepe Z..

IMPROVING COURSE SUCCESS PREDICTION USING ABET COURSE OUTCOMES AND GRADES.

DOI: 10.5220/0003922602220229

In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU-2012), pages 222-229

ISBN: 978-989-8565-07-5

Copyright

c

2012 SCITEPRESS (Science and Technology Publications, Lda.)

and outcome grades are used as inputs to our system.

Our method employs Bayesian Logistic Regression

(Genkin et al., 2007) together with minimum Redun-

dancy Maximum Relevance (mRMR) feature selec-

tion algorithm (Peng et al., 2005).

This paper is organized as follows: In Section 2,

previous work on student modeling and performance

prediction are discussed. Section 3 explains the nota-

tion used in this paper and brieﬂy discusses the related

machine learning methods. Section 4 introduces the

proposed method. Various case studies using this ap-

proach are discussed in Section 5. Finally, Section 6

concludes the paper.

2 RELATED WORK

An early paper on student success prediction em-

ployed Bayesian linear regression method (Rubin,

1980). They predicted the success of ﬁrst grade

law school students based on average high school

grade and LSAT score using a linear regression

model. The Bayesian approach included regularity

constraints that other methods such as least squares

regression lacked. Since then, the goal of predicting

ﬁrst grade student success using pre-university data

continued to be an attractive subject for various re-

searchers (Butcher and Muth, 1985; Campbell and

McCabe, 1984). In this vein, Felder et. al (Felder

et al., 1993) discussed the important features that cor-

relates strongly with the student grades at ﬁrst year

courses in Chemical Engineering. Features include

questionaries on learning and studying styles, psycho-

logical proﬁles, ethnical, economic and educational

background. The paper indicated several features that

signiﬁcantly correlated with the ﬁrst year grades.

Another trend of research is the prediction of stu-

dent performances in a single learning task such as

a question in a test (Cetintas et al., 2010; Thai-Nghe

et al., 2010). One important task here is to predict

student success at the ﬁrst attempt to solve a prob-

lem. There have been considerable advances in this

area, especially after the announcement of the KDD-

10 contest and the associated prize (Pardos and Hef-

fernan, 2011; Yu et al., 2010). Note that the feature

set used in solving this problem is very rich, includ-

ing results from various sub-tasks, related previous

problems, etc. Cetintas et. al. proposed using a tem-

poral collaborative ﬁltering approach to predict stu-

dents’ success on solving speciﬁc problems in Intel-

ligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) and showed that this

approach performed better than traditional collabora-

tive ﬁltering methods (Cetintas et al., 2010). Several

top performing methods employed complex features

to predict problem solving results in ITSs, but the re-

sulting systems can be quite complicated, with signif-

icant manual labor involved. Matrix factorization is

another method that is successfully employed in this

problem (Thai-Nghe et al., 2010), which performs on

par with the best methods and is fully automatic so

that it does not depend on manual feature engineer-

ing.

More related to the goal of this work, several pa-

pers focus on predicting student performance, such

as university course drop-outs (Dekker et al., 2009)

and mid-school success/failure (Marquez-Vera et al.,

2011) in formal education. Dekker at.al. used pre-

university and university grades as features to predict

student drop-outs, with accuracies ranging from 70%

to 80%. The problem of predicting middle-school

failure was considered in (Marquez-Vera et al., 2011),

where several different machine learning methods

were discussed with accuracies up to 96%. The data

set for this problem includes features from national

and local questionnaires and previous course grades

of 670 middle-school students from Zacatecas, Mex-

ico.

An important problem in this task is the class

imbalance problem, where the number of succeed-

ing students might be very different than the num-

ber of failing students, which adversely effects the

prediction performance of one class. Previous work

employed data rebalancing schemes (Chawla et al.,

2002; Thai-Nghe et al., 2009) or used unequal costs

for errors of different classes (Thai-Nghe et al., 2009)

to remedy this effect. These schemes result in more

balanced error distributions and confusion matrices,

but no signiﬁcant increase in overall accuracy has

been reported.

3 BACKGROUND

In this section, we introduce the dataset, notation, the

classiﬁer and the feature selection method used in this

paper.

3.1 Program Evaluation using

Outcomes

Outcome based education is a new paradigm, which

has become a standard for ABET accredited univer-

sities. The complete list of outcomes suggested by

ABET includes 13 outcomes. We collected data on

three of them:

a: an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics,

science, and engineering,

IMPROVINGCOURSESUCCESSPREDICTIONUSINGABETCOURSEOUTCOMESANDGRADES

223

c: an ability to design a system, component, or

process to meet desired needs,

h: an ability to communicate effectively.

Computer Engineering Department of Istanbul

Technical University signiﬁcantly modiﬁed its ap-

proach for the assessment of program outcomes in

Spring 2005. First, the speciﬁc outcomes related to

each course were determined. Three of these out-

comes were selected for more comprehensive eval-

uation, these are outcomes a, c and h given above.

The faculty were asked to assign speciﬁc problems,

projects and exam questions that were designed to di-

rectly measure the abilities of individual students with

regard to a speciﬁc outcome. For six years, at the

end of each term, the faculty submitted the normal-

ized grades obtained from the related items contribut-

ing to an outcome together with the deﬁnition of these

items. To assist in the evaluation and storage of these

data, a program called POMAS was developed (Ok-

tug, 2007). Results from these evaluations allow as-

sessment of the performance of each student with re-

spect to not only overall course performance, but also

with respect to particular skills. In this paper, we use

the POMAS data and overall course grades to predict

student course success.

3.2 Notation

In this work, we assume that we are given both

course grades and ABET outcomes for a group of

students and our task is to predict student success on

courses. This success corresponds to whether the stu-

dent passed a course unconditionally, having a grade

“CC” or better.

Assume that we have M courses, (c

1

,c

2

,...,c

M

),

in the dataset. Each course c

i

is offered in

a semester, t(c

i

) ∈ [1,8]. Features correspond-

ing to a student s in a course c

i

are g

o

(s,c

i

) ∈

{1,0}, o ∈ {a,c,h}, corresponding to the outcomes

of the courses and g

c

(s,c

i

) ∈ {1,0}. 1 denotes

pass and 0 denotes fail. The condition for pass

or fail for courses is to have an overall grade

greater than “CC” (the set of original grades is

{AA,BA,BB,CB,CC,DC,DD,FF,V F}). The condi-

tion for pass/fail in outcome grades is to have an out-

come grade greater than the average outcome grade

of the course. It has been noticed that these bin-

ning schemes improve the prediction accuracy signif-

icantly when compared to using the unbinned [0,100]

range or using a ﬁner binning strategy.

The problem, then, is to estimate g

c

(.,.) for a

given course and all students taking (or are about to

take) that course. Formally, we would like to estimate

the g

c

(s,c

i

) with the distribution:

g

c

(s,c

i

) ∼ p(x|g

c

(s,c

i

),g

o

(s,c

i

))

where

g

c

(s,c

i

) = (g

c

(s,c

i

1

),g

c

(s,c

i

2

),...,g

c

(s,c

i

N

),...)

T

g

o

(s,c

i

) = (g

o

(s,c

i

1

),g

o

(s,c

i

2

),...,g

o

(s,c

i

N

),...)

T

for all j ∈ [1, M] such that,

t(c

i

j

) < t(c

i

)

3.3 Logistic Regression

Logistic regression is a very popular and successful

method used both in statistics and machine learning

(Hosmer and Lemeshow, 2000). In this method, we

use a model of the form:

p(g

c

(s,c

i

)|β,g

c

(s,c

i

)) = Ψ(β

T

g

c

(s,c

i

))

to model binary class values p(g

c

(s,c

i

)) of s. Here

Ψ(.) is the logistic link function:

Ψ(x) =

exp(x)

1 + exp(x)

The simplest form of logistic regression employs

Least Squares method to minimize the square error:

∑

s

(g

c

(s,c

i

) − ˆg

c

(s,c

i

))

2

Where ˆg

c

(s,c

i

) is the estimated and g

c

(s,c

i

) is the ac-

tual success variable. However, such an approach suf-

fers from several problems. The ﬁrst and the most

crucial is the overﬁtting behaviour, which is most

visible in sparse datasets. Another problem is the

“Bouncing β” problem, where the estimated param-

eters change signiﬁcantly with slight modiﬁcations in

the dataset (Hosmer and Lemeshow, 2000). Finally,

if some of the feature vectors are (almost) linearly

dependent, the least squares solution may be numer-

ically unstable. Thus, regularization methods, such

as ridge regression or Bayesian Logistic Regression

are neccessary. Ridge regression solves the aforemen-

tioned problems by minimizing the regularized error

function:

∑

s

(g

c

(s,c

i

) − ˆg

c

(s,c

i

))

2

+ λ(||β||

2

)

The problem in this approach is to select the right

λ, a since too small λ would not regularize the sys-

tem, while a too large value would negatively effect

the classiﬁcation performance. Conventionally, λ is

heuristically chosen to satisfy both criteria.

On the other hand, Bayesian Logistic Regression

(Genkin et al., 2007) tackles this issue in a more prin-

cipled way, where prior distributions on model param-

eters β are used to regularize these variables and avoid

CSEDU2012-4thInternationalConferenceonComputerSupportedEducation

224

overﬁtting. The model parameters are MAP (Maxi-

mum A-Posteriori) estimated.

In this work, we have chosen Gaussian priors for

the model parameters. Using these priors, the log pos-

terior density of model parameters β becomes (ignor-

ing normalizing constant and constant terms):

L(β|D) = −

∑

s

ln(1 + exp(g

c

(s,c

i

)β

T

g

c

(s,c

i

))) −

∑

j

β

2

j

2σ

In the above expression, σ is the standard devia-

tion for the Gaussian prior and D is the dataset. This

variance is selected using the norm-based heuristic

(Genkin et al., 2007):

σ

2

=

d

∑

i

||x

i

||

2

where, d is the number of features (after feature se-

lection) and x

i

is the ith feature vector. The MAP esti-

mation proceeds by using a type of Newton-Raphson

method as described in (Genkin et al., 2007). In this

paper, we use Bayesian Logistic Regression and com-

pare it to simple Logistic Regression and other classi-

ﬁcation methods.

3.4 Feature Selection Method

Another method to improve a classiﬁer’s general-

ization is to select a subset of informative features

(Guyon and Elisseeff, 2003). The minimum Re-

dundancy Maximum Relevance (mRMR (Peng et al.,

2005)) method relies on the intuitive criteria for fea-

ture selection which states that the best feature set

should give as much information regarding the class

variable as possible while at the same time minimize

inter-variable dependency as much as possible (i.e.

avoid redundancy). The natural measure of relevance

and redundancy in the language of information the-

ory is the mutual information function. However,

real data observed in various problems are usually too

sparse to correctly estimate the joint probability distri-

bution and consequently the full mutual information

function. The solution proposed in (Peng et al., 2005),

employs two different measures for redundancy (Red)

and relevance (Rel):

Red = 1/|S|

2

∑

F

i

,F

j

∈S

MI(F

i

,F

j

)

Rel = 1/|S|

∑

F

i

∈S

MI(F

i

,R)

In the expressions above, S is the (sub-)set of fea-

tures of interest, MI(.,.) is the mutual information

function, R is the class variable and F

i

is the random

variable corresponding to the ith feature. Then the

goal of mRMR is to select a feature set S that is as rel-

evant (max(Rel)) and as non redundant (min(Red)) as

possible. In the original work (Peng et al., 2005), two

criteria to combine Rel and Red were proposed. In

this work, the criterion of Mutual Information Differ-

ence (MID = Rel − Red) is used, because it is known

to be more stable than the other proposed criterion

(MIQ = Rel/Red) (Gulgezen et al., 2009).

4 METHOD

In this work, the ﬁnal grades and the outcome grades

(for a, c and h) of students during years 2005 to 2011

were collected. The courses for which the ﬁnal grades

were collected are shown in Table 1. The courses

considered in POMAS evaluation and the related out-

comes are listed in Table 2. Some of the courses given

in the program were left out due to the sparseness of

the associated data. There were some courses with

outcome grades available but with no course grade

data, thus some of the courses in Table 2 were not

included in this work. Table 3 shows information on

the three fourth year courses, namely, Software En-

gineering (SE), Ethics of Informatics (EI) and Intro.

to Expert Systems (ES) for which we predict student

success. We chose fourth year courses, because the

number of courses prior to them, and hence the num-

ber of available features are more for these courses.

Software Engineering is offered in 7th semester while

Expert Systems and Ethics of Informatics courses are

offered in the 8th semester, so the number of previous

outcome and course grades are fewer for Software En-

gineering prediction.

The data are passed to the classiﬁer only after a

feature selection process. This feature selection pro-

cess can be seen both as a step to improve general-

ization capability of the particular classiﬁer and also

a step to decrease the computational complexity. The

output of the feature selection method employed in

this paper, mRMR, consists of an ordered list of fea-

tures together with the feature scores. These scores

are the Rel − Red values (see Section 3.4). The se-

lected features of the available data are then used to

train the classiﬁer parameters.

A number of different classiﬁers, namely, Naive

Bayes, Multilayer Perceptron, SVM with Radial Ba-

sis Function kernel and Logistic Regression can be

employed for classiﬁcation.

5 RESULTS

In this section, we report results on different aspects

IMPROVINGCOURSESUCCESSPREDICTIONUSINGABETCOURSEOUTCOMESANDGRADES

225

Table 1: The courses of ITU Computer Engineering considered in this work.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4

Discrete Mathematics Microprocessor Systems Operating Systems Software Engineering

Data Structures Computer Architecture Ethics of Informatics

Computer Organization Real Time Systems Intro. to Expert Systems

Digital Circuits Microcomputer Laboratory Graduation Thesis

Logic Circuits Laboratory Database Management Systems Advanced Programming

Analysis of Algorithms Digital Signal Proc. Lab.

Advanced Data Structures Discrete Event Simulation

Table 2: Related outcomes for courses in POMAS system.

Outcome a Outcome c Outcome h

Data Structures Microprocessor Systems Software Engineering

Analysis of Algorithms Computer Organization Ethics of Informatics

Formal Languages and Automata Computer Architecture English

Artiﬁcial Intelligence Database Systems Turkish

Discrete Event Simulation Software Engineering Data Structures

Signals and Systems Computer Projects - I Computer Projects - I

Graduation Project Graduation Project Graduation Project

Analysis of Algorithms Microprocessor Lab.

Advanced Data Structures Advanced Data Structures

Table 3: The datasets used in the experiments.

Course Previous Course Grades Previous Outcome Grades num. of instances

Software Engineering 13 9 307

Ethics of Informatics 17 13 481

Intro. to Expert Systems 17 13 298

of the proposed model using three different courses as

test cases. We predict whether students have satisfac-

torily passed (overall grade being greater than CC )

the course. The courses considered are Software En-

gineering (SE), Introduction to Expert Systems (ES)

and Ethics of Informatics (EI). In all of the cases,

only the course and outcome grades given for courses

taught before the predicted course are used. Some of

the methods used in this paper are employed using

Weka Java libraries (Hall et al., 2009) using default

set of parmeters. The results reported in this section

are the 10-fold cross validation accuracies using the

set of mRMR selected features with the best classiﬁ-

cation accuracy. The folds in all of the tests are the

same. In addition to this, 95% signiﬁcance intervals

are also reported.

5.1 Evaluation of Different Machine

Learning Methods

Table 4 shows the accuracies obtained using dif-

ferent machine learning methods for the three dif-

ferent fourth year courses. These experiments use

mRMR selected features including course and out-

come grades.

It should be noted that some methods perform bet-

ter in speciﬁc tasks, but poorly in others (Naive Bayes,

SVM). It is also observed that both Logistic Regres-

sion methods provide satisfactory and homogenous

prediction accuracy accross the different prediction

tasks and the classical logistic regression is very close

to Bayesian Logistic Regression in accuracy. How-

ever, as mentioned in Section 3.3, Bayesian Logis-

tic Regression has various desirable properties other

than having a good classiﬁcation accuracy. The main

advantage is due the constraint on the norm of the β

parameters, effectively eliminating the “bouncing β”

problem and enabling better comparison of these pa-

rameters among different courses. This property is

important, since one of our goals is to employ these

coefﬁcients to better understand course dependencies.

5.2 Prediction with and without

Outcomes

In this section, we perform a detailed analysis of

classiﬁcation using grades with/without outcomes and

with/without employing mRMR feature selection.

Table 5 summarizes the main ﬁndings for the

three different courses we examine in this paper us-

CSEDU2012-4thInternationalConferenceonComputerSupportedEducation

226

Table 4: Accuracy of different machine learning methods on three sample problems.

Methods Test Accuracy(SE) Test Accuracy(EI) Test Accuracy(ES)

Naive Bayes 79.03 ± 5.62 73.18 ± 4.32 80.56 ± 3.35

Multilayer Perceptron 72.66 ± 5.71 71.62 ± 3.88 79.23 ± 3.00

SVM (RBF kernel) 78.67 ± 3.73 74.27 ± 5.95 74.14 ± 0.91

Logistic Regression 77.49 ± 3.74 75.60 ± 4.49 81.39 ± 6.49

Bayesian Logistic Regression 77.49 ± 4.06 75.34 ± 5.00 82.57 ± 5.75

Table 5: Accuracy results.

Course Grades + mRMR (1) Grades + Outcomes + mRMR (2) p-value Grades + Outcomes

(1) vs (2)

Software Engineering 76.38 ± 4.60 77.49 ± 4.06 0.5451 76.76 ± 3.97

Ethics of Informatics 69.52 ± 4.87 75.34 ± 5.00 0.1248 72.44 ± 5.13

Intro. to Expert Systems 75.43 ± 2.31 82.57 ± 5.75 0.0171 80.39 ± 6.46

ing Bayesian Logistic Regression classiﬁer. First of

all in all of the cases, addition of outcome grades im-

proves the results. The statistical signiﬁcance of this

improvement varies, but the improvement in accuracy

is consistent. The signiﬁcance of the differences in

performances using only grades to using both grades

and outcomes as features are also indicated using p-

value from the pairwise t-test on folds of cross vali-

dation. An important observation is that the addition

of outcome features also increase variance in some

cases as seen from the wider conﬁdence intervals.

This is mainly due to the non-stationary nature of the

outcome grading process, which may not always be

consistent in time and accross different lecturers for

the same courses. This result is also important, since

it expresses the importance of a methodological ap-

proach in grading outcomes.

Furthermore, using mRMR consistently improves

the prediction accuracy. The effect of different num-

ber of features on the grade prediction accuracy can

be seen in Figures 1, 2 and 3. These ﬁgures show

the average accuracies over 10 folds obtained using

the mRMR selected features for different number of

features. Bayesian Logistic Regression was used for

all three ﬁgures. As shown in the ﬁgures, using out-

comes in addition to the courses results in an accuracy

increase for all three courses. For EI and ES, the accu-

racy improvement is signiﬁcant. For courses SE and

EI, the number of features needed for the best classi-

ﬁcation accuracy is very small (6 and 7 respectively).

On the other hand, more features are required for ES

(14).

Another nice beneﬁt of feature selection is the

consequent ease of interpreting the results. Logis-

tic regression model enables inspection of contribu-

tion of each feature on classiﬁcation results based on

weights (β

i

) corresponding to each feature. In Tables

6, 7 and 8, we show the average Bayesian Logistic

Regression classiﬁer weights for the some of the most

Software Engineering Prediction Accuracy

Accuracy

70

71

72

73

74

75

76

77

78

70

71

72

73

74

75

76

77

78

Number of Features Selected

0 5 10 15 20 25

0 5 10 15 20 25

Course and Outcome Grades

Only Course Grades

Figure 1: The impact of the number of features selected on

system’s performance for course Software Engineering.

signiﬁcant weights. For each fold, for the number of

features that resulted in the best average test accuracy

(SE: 6, EI: 7, ES: 14), we noted the features and the

corresponding weights of the Bayesian Logistic Re-

gression classiﬁer. We then reported the average of

the associated weights for each feature together with

95% conﬁdence interval. Notice that if course predic-

tion was performed for all the courses, these weights

could be used to come up with a pre-requisites graph.

Table 6: Related Course and Outcome Grades to uncondi-

tional pass/fail prediction of Software Engineering.

Grades Coefﬁcient

Computer Architecture 1.16 ± 0.05

Analysis of Algorithms 0.80 ± 0.21

Formal Lang. and Auto. 0.72 ± 0.30

Computer Organization 0.70 ± 0.08

Computer Operating Systems 0.67 ± 0.27

Logic Circuits Lab. 0.61 ± 0.38

IMPROVINGCOURSESUCCESSPREDICTIONUSINGABETCOURSEOUTCOMESANDGRADES

227

Ethics of Informatics Prediction Accuracy

Accuracy

60

65

70

75

60

65

70

75

Number of Features Selected

0 5 10 15 20 25

0 5 10 15 20 25

Course and Outcome Grades

Only Course Grades

Figure 2: The impact of the number of features selected on

system’s performance for course Ethics of Informatics.

Expert Systems Prediction Accuracy

Accuracy

70

72

74

76

78

80

82

84

70

72

74

76

78

80

82

84

Number of Features Selected

0 5 10 15 20 25

0 5 10 15 20 25

Course and Outcome Grades

Only Course Grades

Figure 3: The impact of the number of features selected

on system’s performance for course Introduction to Expert

Systems.

6 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE

WORK

The idea of outcome based assessment has been em-

ployed in Computer Engineering program of Istanbul

Technical University since 2005. The ﬁrst results of

this undertaking have been the enriched descriptive

statistics regarding the education in the program (Ok-

tug, 2007), consequently the faculty were able to see

detailed reports on the overall distribution of students

skills. In this work, we take the second step, where the

students’ success in courses are modeled using these

data. In this work we have clearly shown the util-

ity of these measurements in improving student suc-

cess modeling. We have also discussed the descrip-

tive value of related ﬁndings, such as discovering cor-

relations among different skills measured in courses.

These ﬁndings should be encouraging for universities

Table 7: Related Course and Outcome Grades to uncondi-

tional pass/fail prediction of Ethics of Informatics.

Grades Coefﬁcient

Computer Project -I 2.35 ± 0.11

Computer Architecture / Outcome c 1.20 ± 0.31

Microprocessor Systems 0.99 ± 0.06

Software Engineering 0.62 ± 0.05

Artiﬁcial Intelligence / Outcome a 0.52 ± 0.53

Computer Operating Systems 0.40 ± 0.09

Discrete Event Sim. 0.21 ± 0.33

Table 8: Related Course and Outcome Grades to uncondi-

tional pass/fail prediction of Intro. to Expert Systems.

Grades Coefﬁcient

Analysis of Algorithms / Outcome a 2.18 ± 0.07

Logic Circuits Lab. 1.24 ± 0.48

Database Management Systems 1.23 ± 0.15

Software Engineering 1.06 ± 0.14

Computer Architecture / Outcome c 0.95 ± 0.10

Real Time Systems / Outcome c 0.95 ± 0.13

Discrete Event Sim. 0.88 ± 0.08

Microprocessor Systems 0.71 ± 0.11

Computer Organization 0.70 ± 0.18

to devise new ways to measure the students’ skill pro-

gression. Computer Science and technologies can be

beneﬁcial not only for e-learning domain but also con-

ventional education domain.

The proposed method would be helpful in cur-

riculum design, by providing an objective measure

for course grade interdependencies. Determination

of course prerequisites is one task that would beneﬁt

from the proposed method. It would also be interest-

ing to see whether the prediction results would also be

useful to the lecturers in better assisting the “critical”

students early.

The outcomes as described by ABET provide an

overall picture of related skills for an engineering stu-

dent. However, tracking students’ performance in

a more detailed way would certainly give better re-

sults. This problem has been handled in the e-learning

community by methods called “Knowledge Tracing”

(Corbett and Anderson, 1994). We believe that a simi-

lar approach in conventional education domain is also

possible and as hinted in this work, would be most

beneﬁcial. Therefore, as part of our future work, we

plan to devise methods of ﬁnding “critical learning

activities” or concepts and the associated grades using

available data such as curriculum information, course

resources, homeworks, etc.

CSEDU2012-4thInternationalConferenceonComputerSupportedEducation

228

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to thank current and previous

members of the Program Improvement Commitee S.

Oktug, M. Gokmen, S. S. Talay N. Erdogan and B.

Kantarci for their support.

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