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From Log Files to Assessment Metrics: Measuring Students' Science Inquiry Skills Using Educational Data Mining

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Journal of the Learning Sciences Volume 22, Number 4, ISSN 1050-8406


We present a method for assessing science inquiry performance, specifically for the inquiry skill of designing and conducting experiments, using educational data mining on students' log data from online microworlds in the Inq-ITS system (Inquiry Intelligent Tutoring System; In our approach, we use a 2-step process: First we use text replay tagging, a type of rapid protocol analysis in which categories are developed and, in turn, used to hand-score students' log data. In the second step, educational data mining is conducted using a combination of the text replay data and machine-distilled features of student interactions in order to produce an automated means of assessing the inquiry skill in question; this is referred to as a "detector." Once this detector is appropriately validated, it can be applied to students' log files for auto-assessment and, in the future, to drive scaffolding in real time. Furthermore, we present evidence that this detector developed in 1 scientific domain, phase change, can be used–with no modification or retraining–to effectively detect science inquiry skill in another scientific domain, density.


Gobert, J.D., Sao Pedro, M., Raziuddin, J. & Baker, R.S. (2013). From Log Files to Assessment Metrics: Measuring Students' Science Inquiry Skills Using Educational Data Mining. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 22(4), 521-563. Retrieved March 23, 2019 from .

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