n South African Computer Journal - The development of a user classification model for first year university students : research article

Volume 2002, Issue 29
  • ISSN : 1015-7999
  • E-ISSN: 2313-7835



A number of computerised testing systems have been developed recently without considering the users? level of computer proficiency. First year students at the University of Port Elizabeth have a diverse background, both in home language and population group. The level of computer expertise of these students differs greatly and this may influence the test scores they obtain in computerised tests. In this study, various factors were found to be significant indicators of performance when using computer-based testing systems. These factors include previous computer and software experience, attitude towards computers, self-perceived ability to work with computers, contact with technology, gender and home language. This paper discusses the development of a user classification model to classify students into three user groups, namely novice, intermediate and expert. Two methods were used for classification. The first followed a quantitative approach to user modelling and required users to perform simple computer-based tasks. The second method was qualitative in nature and used a questionnaire to assess the factors that were found to be significant indicators of performance in human-computer interaction. This research project demonstrates that a user classification model can be developed for the first year student population at the University of Port Elizabeth.

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