Labeling educational content with academic learning standards
Learning standards (frequently referred to as academic standards, course curriculum etc.) define the specific structure of an educational program. Learning standards contain a list of instructions specifying various skills that students should learn at different points during their learning progression. For example, "calculate the area of a triangle" is one such instruction in a 6th grade geometry curriculum. Currently these instructions are imparted using prescribed textbooks or lesson plans which have been labeled with learning standard instructions. Teachers and students use this labeled learning content to identify relevant material for teaching and studying. However with an increasing amount of users as well as publisher generated content in recent days, teachers and students may want to refer to additional content apart from prescribed textbooks for their teaching/learning needs which is not labeled with learning standard instructions. Manually identifying the appropriate learning standard instruction for each learning content is time consuming and not scalable especially since learning standards frequently contain thousands of instructions, and subject to periodic revision. In this paper, we address the problem of automatically labeling digital learning content with the learning standards. Towards this goal, we first build semantic representations of the learning standard instructions using external knowledge sources such as Wikipedia and domain text books. These semantic representations are then used in a framework which utilizes structural constraints imposed by the hierarchy of the learning standards to assign labels to the learning materials. We demonstrate the usefulness of our approach on a collection of high school learning materials that were labeled by curriculum experts from a US school district according to a publicly available learning standard. The system developed has been deployed and is in use by the school district. To the best of our knowledge we are the first to attempt this novel task and develop such a system.