IIM  Vol.6 No.4 , July 2014
A Multi-Agent School Simulation Based on Hierarchical Social Networks
Author(s) Yu Zhang*, Jiang Wu, Lizhu Ma
ABSTRACT

The quality of K-12 education has been a very big concern for years. Previous methods studied only one or two factors, such as school choice, or teacher quality, on school performance. Therefore the results they provide can be limited. We propose a multi-agent approach to integrate multiple actors in a school system. These actors include teachers, students, supporting staffs and administrators. The interactions among these actors compose a hierarchical school social network. We first detect the hierarchical community structure in this school network by using an agglomerative hierarchical algorithm. Existing agglomerative hierarchical algorithms usually calculate similarity or dissimilarity between two clusters by using some measure of distance between pairs of observations. We, however, develop a method that calculates similarity based on social interactions between interactions is essential in multi-agent systems. Our algorithm is applied to 15 school districts in Bexar County, Texas, and it provides satisfying results on generating the hierarchical structure of all school districts. We then use the detected structure of the social network to evaluate the school system’s organization performance. We design and implement a funding evaluation model to decompose the funding policy task into subtasks and then evaluate these subtasks by using funding distribution policies from past years and looking for possible relationships between student performances and funding policies. Experiments in the 15 school districts in Bexar County show no significant correlation between student performance and the amount of the funding a school district received.


Cite this paper
Zhang, Y. , Wu, J. and Ma, L. (2014) A Multi-Agent School Simulation Based on Hierarchical Social Networks. Intelligent Information Management, 6, 196-210. doi: 10.4236/iim.2014.64020.
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