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Targeting At-risk Students Using Engagement and Effort Predictors in an Introductory Computer Programming Course

Publication Type: 
Refereed Conference Meeting Proceeding
This paper presents a new approach to automatically detect- ing lower-performing or “at-risk” students on computer programming modules in an undergraduate University degree course. Using historical data from previous student cohorts we built a predictive model using logged interactions between students and online resources, as well as students’ progress in programming laboratory work. Predictions were calculated each week during a 12-week semester. Course lecturers received student lists ranked by their probability of failing the next computer- based laboratory exam. At-risk students were targeted and offered assistance during laboratory sessions by the lecturer and laboratory tutors. When we group students into two cohorts depending on whether they failed or passed their first laboratory exam, the average margin of improvement on the second laboratory exam between the higher and lower-performing students was four times higher when our predictions were run and subsequent laboratory support targeted at these students, compared to students from the year our model was trained on.
Conference Name: 
12th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning
Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning
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Research Group: 
Dublin City University (DCU)
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