Extending exploratory diagnostic classification models: Inferring the effect of covariates

Hulya Duygu Yigit, Steven Andrew Culpepper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diagnostic models provide a statistical framework for designing formative assessments by classifying student knowledge profiles according to a collection of fine-grained attributes. The context and ecosystem in which students learn may play an important role in skill mastery, and it is therefore important to develop methods for incorporating student covariates into diagnostic models. Including covariates may provide researchers and practitioners with the ability to evaluate novel interventions or understand the role of background knowledge in attribute mastery. Existing research is designed to include covariates in confirmatory diagnostic models, which are also known as restricted latent class models. We propose new methods for including covariates in exploratory RLCMs that jointly infer the latent structure and evaluate the role of covariates on performance and skill mastery. We present a novel Bayesian formulation and report a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm using a Metropolis-within-Gibbs algorithm for approximating the model parameter posterior distribution. We report Monte Carlo simulation evidence regarding the accuracy of our new methods and present results from an application that examines the role of student background knowledge on the mastery of a probability data set.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-401
Number of pages30
JournalBritish Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Bayesian statistics
  • Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods
  • covariates
  • variable selection algorithm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Statistics and Probability
  • General Psychology


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