Variational Bayesian Inference for the Polytomous-Attribute Saturated Diagnostic Classification Model with Parallel Computing

07/05/2021 ∙ by Motonori Oka, et al. ∙ 0

As a statistical tool to assist formative assessments in educational settings, diagnostic classification models (DCMs) have been increasingly used to provide diagnostic information regarding examinees' attributes. DCMs often adopt dichotomous division such as mastery and non-mastery of attributes to express mastery states of attributes. However, many practical settings involve different levels of mastery states rather than a simple dichotomy in a single attribute. Although this practical demand can be addressed by polytomous-attribute DCMs, their computational cost in a Markov chain Monte Carlo estimation impedes their large-scale applications due to the larger number of polytomous-attribute mastery patterns than that of binary-attribute ones. This study considers a scalable Bayesian estimation method for polytomous-attribute DCMs and developed a variational Bayesian (VB) algorithm for a polytomous-attribute saturated DCM – a generalization of polytomous-attribute DCMs – by building on the existing literature in VB for binary-attribute DCMs and polytomous-attribute DCMs. Furthermore, we proposed the configuration of parallel computing for the proposed VB algorithm to achieve better computational efficiency. Monte Carlo simulations revealed that our method exhibited the high performance in parameter recovery under a wide range of conditions. An empirical example is used to demonstrate the utility of our method.

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