Inferring student comprehension from highlighting patterns in digital textbooks: An exploration in an authentic learning platform

David Y.J. Kim, Adam Winchell, Andrew E. Waters, Phillip J. Grimaldi, Richard Baraniuk, Michael C. Mozer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

We investigate whether student comprehension and knowledge retention can be predicted from textbook annotations, specifically the material that students choose to highlight. Using a digital open-access textbook platform, Openstax, students enrolled in Biology, Physics, and Sociology courses read sections of their introductory text as part of required coursework, optionally highlighted the text to flag key material, and then took brief quizzes as the end of each section. We find that when students choose to highlight, the specific pattern of highlights can explain about 13% of the variance in observed quiz scores. We explore many different representations of the pattern of highlights and discover that a low-dimensional logistic principal component based vector is most effective as input to a ridge regression model. Considering the many sources of uncontrolled variability affecting student performance, we are encouraged by the strong signal that highlights provide as to a student’s knowledge state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalCEUR Workshop Proceedings
Volume2674
StatePublished - 2020
Event2nd International Workshop on Intelligent Textbooks, iTextbooks 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jul 6 2020 → …

Keywords

  • Knowledge retention
  • Student modeling
  • Textbook annotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)

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