Towards real interpretability of student success prediction combining methods of XAI and social science

Cohausz, Lea

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-624824
Document Type: Conference or workshop publication
Year of publication: 2022
Book title: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Educational Data Mining
Page range: 361-367
Conference title: EDM 2022 : The 15th International Conference on Educational Data Mining
Location of the conference venue: Durham, UK
Date of the conference: 24.-27.07.2022
Publisher: Mitrovic, Antonija ; Bosch, Nigel ; Cristea, Alexandra I. ; Brown, Chris
Place of publication: Durham
Publishing house: International Educational Data Mining Society
Related URLs:
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Business Informatics and Mathematics > Praktische Informatik II (Stuckenschmidt 2009-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Subject: 004 Computer science, internet
Abstract: Despite calls to increase the focus on explainability and interpretability in EDM and, in particular, student success prediction, so that it becomes useful for personalized intervention systems, only few efforts have been undertaken in that direction so far. In this paper, we argue that this is mainly due to the limitations of current Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) approaches regarding interpretability. We further argue that the issue, thus, calls for a a combination of AI and social science methods utilizing the strengths of both. For this, we introduce a step-wise model of interpretability where the first step constitutes of knowing important features, the second step of understanding counterfactuals regarding a particular person’s prediction, and the third step of uncovering causal relations relevant for a set of similar students. We show that LIME, a current XAI method, reaches the first but not subsequent steps. To reach step two, we propose an extension to LIME, Minimal Counterfactual-LIME, finding the smallest number of changes necessary to change a prediction. Reaching step three, however, is more involved and additionally requires theoretical and causal reasoning - to this end, we construct an easily applicable framework. Using artificial data, we showcase that our methods can recover connections among features; additionally, we demonstrate its applicability on real-life data. Limitations of our methods are discussed and collaborations with social scientists encouraged.

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