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Abstract: Data mining is a prevailing process to forecast upcoming behaviors. Data Mining is used in various domains and disciplines to solve an existing problem or to envisage comportments. The different Data mining techniques are Clustering, Association, Classification, Regression and Structured Prediction. Classification is a most important task of simplifying dataset. Decision tree method is commonly used in Classification technique. Decision tree model is represented by branch and nodes. There are several Decision tree algorithms to contrivance in data mining tools. This paper objective is to compare the most frequently used Decision tree algorithms in various domains. This research holds the good in predicting the best decision tree algorithm. Educational dataset is implemented to find the accuracy of the Decision tree algorithms and to predict the student’s performance level. This research provides an idea to educators on student progress level.

Keyword: Classification,  Data mining,  Decision Stump, Decision tree algorithms,  J48,  Hoeffding Tree, Random Forest,  RandomTree, REPTree, Student’s recital.


Data mining is a prevailing technology with prodigious prospective to emphasis on the most essential information in data warehouses. Data mining tools are used to foretell future tendencies, making practical and knowledge-driven verdicts. Data mining tools can response queries that usually were complex to resolve. Data mining tasks is used to discover hidden patterns from existing information. Data mining is applicable for any kind of data repository. Data mining methods can be applied on existing software and hardware platforms to improve the significance of present information resources.

Classification is a data mining technique use d to organize data objects according to given class labels. Classification process slants using training set of data in which all data objects are already classified with class labels. The classification algorithm absorbs the training set and constructs a model. The constructed model is used to classify unclassified large datasets. There are many classification algorithms.

Decision tree is a renowned classification technique commonly used in many researches. Decision tree model represents a flowchart-like structure where each node represents a test on data objects and the leaf node represents the class label. Decision tree are used in all domains to predict hidden patterns. Decision tree is well-known because it is simple and easy to interpret.

The aim of this research is to compare the efficiency of different decision tree algorithms. Education is one of the domains which is profited by Data mining. To compare the decision tree algorithms Educational dataset from a standard college is implemented. Semester marks of college students is collected and analyzed by Data mining tool to classify students to Grade A, Grade B and Grade C. This study also predicts the next semester percentage of students.

This study finds out the commonly used decision tree algorithms in various domains. The objective of this study is to list out the efficiency and accuracy of decision tree algorithms. College student’s performance in exam is analyzed to rank them and predict their future performance. This research helps professor’s to predict achievement levels and identify student or groups of students in need of further attention.


Data mining is used in many researches for various purposes in different fields. Researchers have worked in educational field to predict loyal students and dropout students to improve educational quality. Medical field is widely used with data mining to diagnosis many diseases like Breast cancer, Diabetics, Typhoid. In organizational field data mining is supportive to make decision and set marketing goal. In weather domain data mining commonly used to predict weather. In environment domain data mining is implemented and analyzed with soil, iris flower and mushroom datasets.

Nilima Patil, Rekha Lathi, and Vidya Chitre [1] provided the way for decision making process of customers to recommend the membership card using classification which is helpful to enterprise\'s development. This study concludes that the main factor that affects the customer ranks is income and found that C4.5 performs well than CART.Saeide kakavand, Taha Mokfi and Mohammad Jafar Tarokh [2] proposes a decision tree model to predict loyal student to increase educational quality. They conclude that data mining is a powerful technology which can be used to predict faithful students with 90% accuracy. They compared the three common decision tree algorithms and found CART performed well followed by C.5 and CHAID with lowest accuracy.Adeyemo and Adeyeye [3] equipped a comparative study of decision tree algorithms and multiple perception algorithms for prediction of typhoid. They analyzed, compared the algorithms on medical dataset and found MLP had greater accuracy and C4.5 had greater speed.Sweta Rai, Priyanka Saini and Ajit Kumar Jain [4] constructed a decision tree model with ID3 algorithm to make a decision whether first year students from undergraduates will continue their study or drop their study. The study concludes that a student dropout seems to be associated with the residence, stress, family type, stream in higher secondary, satisfaction level, enrolled for other institute, change in goal, infrastructure of university, participation in extra-curricular activity, adjustment problem in hostel, and family problem. The ID3 classifier gives accuracy of 98%.A. Sivasankari, Mrs. S. Sudarvizhi and S. Radhika Amirtha Bai [5] proposed a comparative study on different decision tree and clustering algorithms. Activities dataset is implemented to clustering algorithms and concluded that K-means has greater speed and SOM has greater accuracy. Tumor dataset is applied to decision tree algorithms and concluded that ID3 has greater speed and C4.5 has greater accuracy.

Badr HSSINA et all [6] equipped a comparative study on top two decision tree algorithms (ID3 and C4.5). Weather dataset is implemented to compare the efficiency of the algorithms and concludes that C4.5 is powerful decision tree algorithm.G. Sujatha and Dr. K. Usha Rani [7] used tumor datasets on top three frequently used decision tree algorithms (ID3, C4.5 and CART). ID3 , CART and C4.5 algorithms are implemented on different types of tumor datasets and compared. This paper concludes that C4.5 classifier performs best and ID3 performs equally well with enhanced dataset. V.Shankar sowmien et al [8] proposes a prediction system for liver disease using C4.5 decision tree algorithm and results with good accuracy. Data mining metod is used to recognize uncovering patterns from the warehoused data and Decision tree techniques is used to discover accurate and reliable results. This paper concludes the accuracy of C4.5 is 85.81% and can be applied on real time applications.Aman Kumar Sharma and Suruchi Sahni [9] constructs a model to classify electronic mails as spam or non-spam. The four different decision tree algorithms ID3, J48, Simple CART and Alternating Decision Tree are used and compared. This paper concludes that J48 outperforms with 92.7624% accuracy and Simple CART also exhibited alike results that were only a little dissimilar from J48 algorithm. Sudheep Elayidom.M, Sumam Mary Idicula and Joseph Alexander [10] proposed a new decision tree algorithm which is implemented with different UCI datasets and compared with other decision tree algorithms. ADT tree, REPT tree, RandomTree, C4.5*stat , C 4.5 , Neural Network and  Naïve Bayes algorithms are implemented in Iris ,Segment ,Diabetes, Letter , Breast cancer ,Glass and Labor datasets in data mining tool WEKA. The result illustrates Neural networks showed a tad higher accuracy.

Sunita B. Aher and Lobo L.M.R.J. [11] equipped a comparative study on frequently used five classification algorithm on educational database to recommend the course to student based on various student choices. The result shows ADTree classification algorithm performs better for Course Recommender System with 95.55% followed by J48 algorithm with 93.33%, Naïve Bays with 92.77%, Simple CART with 91.66% and ZeroR with lowest accuracy. Irfan Ajmal Khan and Jin Tak Choi [12] developed a scholarship calculator which is used to predict and calculate student’s chances of winning scholarship using decision tree model. ID3 and J48 algorithms are implemented and compared and resulted J48 algorithm was almost 70% incorrect and ID3 algorithm showed a very fair result of about 72% correct. T.Miranda Lakshmi et al [13] analyses and compared the top three decision tree algorithms by implementing student’s dataset to analysis student’s performance. ID3, C4.5 and CART algorithms are implemented in WEKA (open-source data mining tool) to construct decision tree to predict student’s performance. The accuracy of the chosen decision tree algorithms are tabulated and resulted that CART algorithm has greater classification accuracy than the other two algorithms. Harvinder Chauhan and Anu Chauhan [14] proposed a implementation system of one of the decision tree algorithms with different UCI datasets (Bankclass, Iris, Car and Soybean). The popular decision tree algorithm C4.5 provides good accuracy in all the dataset cases. Jaimin N. Undavia et al [15] performed a comparative study on well-known three decision tree algorithms. They also developed a proposed system on prediction of student\'s post-graduation course. Three decision tree algorithms (J48, Random Tree and SimpleCART) are selected and implemented in data mining tool WEKA and the results are analyzed which shows that J48 performs well for the proposed system.  


Fig. 1 Proposed Methodology

A. Data Collection

The educational dataset is used in this study. Student’s semester percentage dataset from a reputed college is used. Dataset fields consist of student’s name, register number, marks of various subjects and the percentage to classify students with Grade. Dataset fields consist of student’s name, register number and the percentages of first five semesters to predict the percentage of sixth semester. The unnecessary attributes are removed and fields which influence the result are only selected.

B. Data Preprocessing

Data preprocessing is an important phase since real-world data are imperfect. In this process the missing values of attributes in the dataset are filled. The unnecessary attributes can be removed to improve performance. In the students dataset the only important field is the percentage. The final attributes selected are register number and percentage for classification process. In prediction process register number and five semesters percentage attributes are chosen.

TABLE: I Students dataset’s attributes and description for classification.


Register Number Unique register number for all students in the college Numeric

Student’s Name Name of the registered student String

Percentage Percentage in the semester Numeric

TABLE: II Students dataset’s attributes and description for prediction.


Register Number Unique register number for all students in the college Numeric

Student’s Name Name of the registered student String

Percentage of Semester I Percentage in the first semester Numeric

Percentage of Semester II Percentage in the second semester Numeric

Percentage of Semester III Percentage in the third semester Numeric

Percentage of Semester IV Percentage in the fourth semester Numeric

Percentage of Semester V Percentage in the fifth semester Numeric

C. Data Transformation

WEKA data mining software is used in this study for implementation. Weka only accepts ARFF (Attribute Relation File Format) files. Hence the dataset can to be converted to ARFF. The dataset is stored in Microsoft Excel and saved as CSV (Comma Separated Value) file which is converted to ARFF file using Weka.

                     IV.  CLASSIFICATION ALGORITHM

A. Decision Tree Algorithms

Decision tree is a well-known classification technique. It is way to display algorithms in tree flowchart like structure. Decision tree algorithms are used commonly in researches due to simplicity and easy of understandability. Decision tree model uses flowchart symbol to represent the classification. The main advantage of decision tree is they can be combined with other decision-making techniques.

B. J48

This algorithm is an extension of well-known decision tree algorithm ID3. In WEKA (Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis) which is the popular data mining tool J48 algorithm is the implementation of famous C4.5 algorithm. The C4.5 algorithm was developed by Ross Quinlan. It creates rules by which the dataset have to be classified. It creates decision tree centered on the given class labels.

C. Hoeffding Tree

The name of the this decision tree is derived from the Hoeffding Bound which is used in decision tree induction process. The aim of Hoeffding bound is to give poise to the correct attribute to divide the tree to build the best model. Hoeffding tree is a streaming of decision tree induction technique. It was developed to overcome the previous streaming classification technique.

D. Random Forest

Random forest algorithm is famous in several competitions because of its powerful intensive calculation. It is similar to bootstrapping algorithm with CART (Classification and Regression Trees) model. It is programmed to build multiple CART model with diverse initial attributes. It is also capable of performing regression technique in data mining. It builds multiple trees and each tree constructs a classification. The algorithm selects the best classification by “votes”.

E. Random Tree

It is similar to Random Forest algorithm and they construct collaborative model with multiple decision trees by using distributed environment data. It tries to construct a huge number of models based on random subset of the input attributes. The strength of Random tree is they are robust and less prone to fitting because of bagging and field-sampling process.

F. REPTree

Reduced Error Pruning Tree (REPTree) is a fast decision tree algorithm. It can build both decision tree and regression tree by information gain and variance. It creates multiple trees in different iterations and can work only with numeric value attributes. Missing values in the dataset are handled by C4.5algorithm’s technique.

G. DecisionStrump

It is a one-level decision tree model which has only one internal node connected to the leaves. This algorithm prediction process depends only on the value of single attribute. Many variations are conceivable depending on the type of selected attribute. They are mostly used as components in machine learning technique like boosting.

                                                  V.  EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

Weka stands for Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis and is popular data mining software which is written in Java and developed at the University of Waikato New Zealand. It is open-source software and licensed under the GNU General Public License. Weka has an easy understandable GUI (Graphical User Interface) and consists of several tools for data pre-processing and algorithms for decision making models. Weka comprises several data mining techniques like classification, clustering, visualization, association, feature selection and regression.

As Weka only accepts ARFF file format, first the student dataset is converted to ARFF file using Weka and imported. The classification tab in Weka Explorer is used for classification where several classification techniques or algorithms like bayes, trees, functions, rules and meta are present. All the decision tree algorithms are implemented to the imported educational dataset. The visualized tree, efficiency and the time consumed for each decision tree algorithm is noted.

Fig. 2 Education dataset opened in Weka Explorer


The decision tree algorithms are compared by efficiency. The number of currently classified instanced is known has the accuracy or efficiency of the algorithm. First the training dataset is implemented with the decision tree algorithm and then the test datasets are applied to classify the students with grade. In the training dataset each student is labeled with Grade A or B or C. The student is given Grade A if the percentage is above 75%, Grade B if the percentage is above 55% and Grade C if the percentage is less than 55%. Then with student’s first five semesters percentage by Random Tree algorithm the student’s sixth semester percentage is predicted. Datasets are separated by different years of students.

Table: III Comparison of Accuracy of Classifiers.

Classification Algorithm Training Dataset Dataset I Dataset II Dataset III

J48 100% 100% 100% 100%

Hoeffding 90% 100% 92.3077% 66.6666%

Random Forest 100% 100% 100% 100%

Random Tree 100% 100% 100% 100%

REPTree 80% 96% 100% 83.3333%

Decision Stump 80% 100% 100% 100%

Table : IV Accuracy of Classifier in predicting student’s percentage.

Classification Algorithm Training Dataset I Training Dataset II Testing Dataset

RandomTree 99% 100% 85%

Fig. 3 J48 Tree model of Training dataset in classification.

Fig.4 Graph on accuracy of Classifiers

              Fig .5 Graph on accuracy of RandomTree to predict next semester percentage on different datasets.

                                             VI.  CONCLUSION

In this study the different decision tree algorithms’ performance are compared by the model which predicts student’s recital and classifies them according to their Grade. Six decision tree classifiers (Hoeffding , REPTree, DecisionStump, Random Tree, Random Forest and J48) which work on numeric data are compared. Three datasets of students from a reputed college is used and the efficiency of the algorithms is analyzed. From the results it is clear that all the decision tree algorithms perform well with student’s dataset to predict their recitals and it is proved that the efficiency of the algorithms are differs with datasets. Among the six classifiers Random Tree, Random Forest and J48 algorithms shows outstanding performance.

Thus, a comparative study on Classification Decision tree algorithms on educational datasets was done and the studies reveal that all the decision tree algorithms work with small datasets. It is also proved that data mining can be used thriving in educational domain.

The current study was on literature study and implementation of decision tree algorithms on small educational datasets. So future works will emphasis on comparison of decision tree algorithms with large datasets. This study proposed the prediction system on student’s recital (Grade classification and Percentage prediction). It would be taken to the next level by predicting marks for each subject.


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