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Evaluations in the City of Phoenix Head Start Agencies

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There is a serious need for early childhood intervention practices for children who are living at or below the poverty line. Since 1965 Head Start has provided a federally funded, free preschool program for children in this population. The City

There is a serious need for early childhood intervention practices for children who are living at or below the poverty line. Since 1965 Head Start has provided a federally funded, free preschool program for children in this population. The City of Phoenix Head Start program consists of nine delegate agencies, seven of which reside in school districts. These agencies are currently not conducting local longitudinal evaluations of their preschool graduates. The purpose of this study was to recommend initial steps the City of Phoenix grantee and the delegate agencies can take to begin a longitudinal evaluation process of their Head Start programs. Seven City of Phoenix Head Start agency directors were interviewed. These interviews provided information about the attitudes of the directors when considering longitudinal evaluations and how Head Start already evaluates their programs through internal assessments. The researcher also took notes on the Third Grade Follow-Up to the Head Start Executive Summary in order to make recommendations to the City of Phoenix Head Start programs about the best practices for longitudinal student evaluations.

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2014-05

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Tile-based methods for online choropleth mapping: a scalability evaluation

Description

Choropleth maps are a common form of online cartographic visualization. They reveal patterns in spatial distributions of a variable by associating colors with data values measured at areal units. Although this capability of pattern revelation has popularized the use of

Choropleth maps are a common form of online cartographic visualization. They reveal patterns in spatial distributions of a variable by associating colors with data values measured at areal units. Although this capability of pattern revelation has popularized the use of choropleth maps, existing methods for their online delivery are limited in supporting dynamic map generation from large areal data. This limitation has become increasingly problematic in online choropleth mapping as access to small area statistics, such as high-resolution census data and real-time aggregates of geospatial data streams, has never been easier due to advances in geospatial web technologies. The current literature shows that the challenge of large areal data can be mitigated through tiled maps where pre-processed map data are hierarchically partitioned into tiny rectangular images or map chunks for efficient data transmission. Various approaches have emerged lately to enable this tile-based choropleth mapping, yet little empirical evidence exists on their ability to handle spatial data with large numbers of areal units, thus complicating technical decision making in the development of online choropleth mapping applications. To fill this knowledge gap, this dissertation study conducts a scalability evaluation of three tile-based methods discussed in the literature: raster, scalable vector graphics (SVG), and HTML5 Canvas. For the evaluation, the study develops two test applications, generates map tiles from five different boundaries of the United States, and measures the response times of the applications under multiple test operations. While specific to the experimental setups of the study, the evaluation results show that the raster method scales better across various types of user interaction than the other methods. Empirical evidence also points to the superior scalability of Canvas to SVG in dynamic rendering of vector tiles, but not necessarily for partial updates of the tiles. These findings indicate that the raster method is better suited for dynamic choropleth rendering from large areal data, while Canvas would be more suitable than SVG when such rendering frequently involves complete updates of vector shapes.

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Date Created
2013

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Biology question generation from a semantic network

Description

Science instructors need questions for use in exams, homework assignments, class discussions, reviews, and other instructional activities. Textbooks never have enough questions, so instructors must find them from other sources or generate their own questions. In order to

Science instructors need questions for use in exams, homework assignments, class discussions, reviews, and other instructional activities. Textbooks never have enough questions, so instructors must find them from other sources or generate their own questions. In order to supply instructors with biology questions, a semantic network approach was developed for generating open response biology questions. The generated questions were compared to professional authorized questions.

To boost students’ learning experience, adaptive selection was built on the generated questions. Bayesian Knowledge Tracing was used as embedded assessment of the student’s current competence so that a suitable question could be selected based on the student’s previous performance. A between-subjects experiment with 42 participants was performed, where half of the participants studied with adaptive selected questions and the rest studied with mal-adaptive order of questions. Both groups significantly improved their test scores, and the participants in adaptive group registered larger learning gains than participants in the control group.

To explore the possibility of generating rich instructional feedback for machine-generated questions, a question-paragraph mapping task was identified. Given a set of questions and a list of paragraphs for a textbook, the goal of the task was to map the related paragraphs to each question. An algorithm was developed whose performance was comparable to human annotators.

A multiple-choice question with high quality distractors (incorrect answers) can be pedagogically valuable as well as being much easier to grade than open-response questions. Thus, an algorithm was developed to generate good distractors for multiple-choice questions. The machine-generated multiple-choice questions were compared to human-generated questions in terms of three measures: question difficulty, question discrimination and distractor usefulness. By recruiting 200 participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk, it turned out that the two types of questions performed very closely on all the three measures.

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Date Created
2015