DS MS Thesis Defense | Siddhartha Pradhan | Monday, April 22, 2024 @ 10am

Monday, April 22, 2024
10:00 am to 11:00 am
Floor/Room #
320G (Inside the LS&T Lab)


MS Thesis Defense 

Siddhartha Pradhan

Monday, April 22nd, 2024   | 10:00AM - 11:00AM

Location: Unity Hall 320G

Thesis Committee: 

Advisor:  Erin Ottmar, Associate Professor, Social Science and Data Science.

Reader: Roee Shraga, Assistant Professor, Data Science

Title: The Findings and Developed Tools from the Exploration of Procedural Pathways to Bolster Algebraic Knowledge


Algebra is essential for delving into advanced mathematical topics and STEM courses (Chen, 2013), requiring students to apply various problem-solving strategies to solve algebraic problems (Common Core, 2010). Yet, many students struggle with learning basic algebraic concepts (National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP), 2008). Over the years, both researchers and developers have created a diverse set of educational technology tools and systems to support algebraic learning, especially in facilitating the acquisition of problem-solving strategies and procedural pathways. However, there are very few studies that examine the variable strategies, decisions, and procedural pathways during mathematical problem-solving that may provide further insight into a student’s algebraic knowledge and thinking. Such research has the potential to bolster algebraic knowledge and create a more adaptive and personalized learning environment.

This multi-study project explores the effects of various problem-solving strategies on students’ future mathematics performance within the gamified algebraic learning platform From Here To There! (FH2T). Together, these four studies focus on classifying, visualizing, and predicting the procedural pathways students adopted, transitioning from a start state to a goal state in solving algebraic problems. By dissecting the nature of these pathways—optimal, sub-optimal, incomplete, and dead-end—I sought to develop tools and algorithms that could infer strategic thinking that correlated with post-test outcomes. A striking observation across studies was that students who frequently engaged in what I term ‘regular dead-ending behavior’, were more likely to demonstrate higher post-test performance, and conceptual and procedural knowledge. This finding underscores the potential of exploratory learner behavior within a low-stakes gamified framework in bolstering algebraic comprehension. The implications of these findings are twofold: they accentuate the significance of tailoring gamified platforms to student behaviors and highlight the potential benefits of fostering an environment that promotes exploration without retribution. Moreover, these insights hint at the notion that fostering exploratory behavior could be instrumental in cultivating mathematical flexibility. Additionally, the developed tools and findings from the studies, paired with other commonly used student performance metrics and visualizations are used to create a collaborative dashboard–with teachers, for teachers.



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