Context-aware nonlinear and neural attentive knowledge-based models for grade prediction

Sara Morsy, George Karypis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Grade prediction can help students and their advisers select courses and design personalized degree programs based on predicted future course performance. One of the successful approaches for accurately predicting a student's grades in future courses is Cumulative Knowledge-based Regression Models (CKRM). CKRM learns shallow linear models that predict a student's grades as the similarity between his/her knowledge state and the target course. However, there can be more complex interactions among prior courses taken by a student, which cannot be captured by the current linear CKRM model. Moreover, CKRM and other grade prediction methods ignore the effect of concurrently-taken courses on a student's performance in a target course. In this paper, we propose context-aware nonlinear and neural attentive models that can potentially better estimate a student's knowledge state from his/her prior course information, as well as model the interactions between a target course and concurrent courses. Compared to the competing methods, our experiments on a large real-world dataset consisting of more than 1.5 million grades show the effectiveness of the proposed models in accurately predicting students' grades. Moreover, the attention weights learned by the neural attentive model can be helpful in better designing their degree plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Educational Data Mining
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 28 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NSF (1447788, 1704074, 1757916, 1834251), Army Research Office (W911NF1810344), Intel Corp, and the Digital Technology Center at the University of Minnesota. Access to research and computing facilities was provided by the Digital Technology Center and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute,

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


  • Degree plans
  • Grade prediction
  • Knowledge-based models
  • Neural attentive models
  • Nonlinear models
  • Undergraduate education


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