# Predicting Students Academic Performance Using Artificial Neural Network

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PREDICTING STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE USING ARTIFICIAL NEURAL NETWORK

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The results of this prediction can also be used by instructors to specify the most suitable teaching actions for each group of students, and provide them with further assistance tailored to their needs. In addition, the prediction results may help students develop a good understanding of how well or how poorly they would perform, and then develop a suitable learning strategy. Accurate prediction of student achievement is one way to enhance the quality of education and provide better educational services (Romero and Ventura, 2007). Different approaches have been applied to predicting student academic performance, including traditional mathematical models and modern data mining techniques. In these approaches, a set of mathematical formulas was used to describe the quantitative relationships between outputs and inputs (i.e., predictor variables). The prediction is accurate if the error between the predicted and actual values is within a small range.

In machine learning and cognitive science, artificial neural networks (ANNs) are a family of statistical learning models inspired by biological neural networks (the central nervous systems of animals, in particular the brain) and are used to estimate or approximate functions that can depend on a large number of inputs and are generally unknown. Artificial neural networks are generally presented as systems of interconnected “neurons” which exchange messages between each other. The connections have numeric weights that can be tuned based on experience, making neural nets adaptive to inputs and capable of learning. For example, a neural network for handwriting recognition is defined by a set of input neurons which may be activated by the pixels of an input image. After being weighted and transformed by a function (determined by the network’s designer), the activations of these neurons are then passed on to other neurons. This process is repeated until finally, an output neuron is activated. This determines which character was read.

The artificial neural network (ANN), a soft computing technique, has been successfully applied in different fields of science, such as pattern recognition, fault diagnosis, forecasting and prediction. However, as far as we are aware, not much research on predicting student academic performance takes advantage of artificial neural network. Kanakana and Olanrewaju (2001) utilized a multilayer perception neural network to predict student performance. They used the average point scores of grade 12 students as inputs and the first year college results as output. The research showed that an artificial neural network based model is able to predict student performance in the first semester with high accuracy. A multiple feed-forward neural network was proposed to predict the students’ final achievement and to classify them into two groups. In their work, a student achievement prediction method was applied to a 10-week course. The results showed that accurate prediction is possible at an early stage, and more specifically at the third week of the 10-week course.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

1.3   OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The following are the objectives of this study:

1.  To examine the use of Artificial Neural Network in predicting students academic performance.

2.  To examine the mode of operation of Artificial Neural Network.

3.  To identify other approaches of predicting students academic performance.

1.4   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will educate on the design and implementation of Artificial Neural Network. It will also educate on how Artificial Neural Network can be used in predicting students academic performance.

This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic

1.6   SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This study will cover the mode of operation of Artificial Neural Network and how it can be used to predict student academic performance.

LIMITATION OF STUDY

Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

REFERENCES

Ayan, M.N.R.; Garcia, M.T.C. 2013. Prediction of university students’ academic achievement by linear and logistic models. Span. J. Psychol. 11, 275–288.

Kanakana, G.M.; Olanrewaju, A.O. 2001. Predicting student performance in engineering education using an artificial neural network at Tshwane university of technology. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Industrial Engineering, Systems Engineering and Engineering Management for Sustainable Global Development, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 21–23 September 2011; pp. 1–7.

Romero, C.; Ventura, S. 2007, Educational Data mining: A survey from 1995 to 2005. Expert Syst. Appl. 33, 135–146.

Ting, S.R. 2008, Predicting academic success of first-year engineering students from standardized test scores and psychosocial variables. Int. J. Eng. Educ.17, 75–80.

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