Practical Sentiment Analysis for Education: The Power of Student Crowdsourcing


  • Robert Kasumba Washington University in St. Louis
  • Marion Neumman Washington University in St. Louis



Crowdsourcing, Sentiment Analysis, Computer Science Education, Student Feedback


Sentiment analysis provides a promising tool to automatically assess the emotions voiced in written student feedback such as periodically collected unit-of-study reflections. The commonly used dictionary-based approaches are limited to major languages and fail to capture contextual differences. Pretrained large language models have been shown to be biased and online versions raise privacy concerns. Hence, we resort to traditional supervised machine learning (ML) approaches which are designed to overcome these issues by learning from domain-specific labeled data. However, these labels are hard to come by -- in our case manually annotating student feedback is prone to bias and time-consuming, especially in high-enrollment courses. In this work, we investigate the use of student crowdsourced labels for supervised sentiment analysis for education. Specifically, we compare crowdsourced and student self-reported labels with human expert annotations and use them in various ML approaches to evaluate the performance on predicting emotions of written student feedback collected from large computer science classes. We find that the random forest model trained with student-crowdsourced labels tremendously improves the identification of reflections with negative sentiment. In addition to our quantitative study, we describe our crowdsourcing experiment which was intentionally designed to be an educational activity in an introduction to data science course.



How to Cite

Kasumba, R., & Neumman, M. (2024). Practical Sentiment Analysis for Education: The Power of Student Crowdsourcing. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 38(21), 23110-23118.