The Relationship between Carelessness and Affect in a Cognitive Tutor

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Conference Proceeding

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We study the relationship between student carelessness and affect among high-school students using a Cognitive Tutor for Scatterplots, using a machine-learned detector of carelessness and field observations of student affect. In line with previous research, we say a student is careless when he/she makes a mistake performing a task that he/she already knows. This construct is also known as slipping. Somewhat non-intuitively, we find that students exhibiting high levels of engaged concentration slip frequently. These findings imply that a student who is engaged in a task may be overconfident, impulsive or hurried, leading to more careless errors. On the other hand, students who display confusion or boredom make fewer careless errors. Further analysis over time suggests that confused and bored students have lower learning overall. Therefore, these students’ mistakes stem from a genuine lack of knowledge rather than carelessness. The use of two versions of the tutor in this study, with and without an Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA), shows no significant difference in terms of the relationship between carelessness and affect.