A decision tree-based method for ordinal classification problems

Matan Marudi, Irad Ben-Gal, Gonen Singer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In ordinal classification problems, the class value exhibits a natural order. Usually, these problems are solved as multiclass classification problems while discarding the ordering form of the class. Recently, several research studies have proposed novel methods for ordinal classification problems while aiming to predict a predefined objective value. These methods are based on modification of the splitting criteria of decision tree-based algorithms. These methods consider the ordinal nature of the data and the magnitude of the potential classification error from a predefined predicted objective. This research aims to consolidate these methods and generalize them for any decision tree-based method while constructing decision trees according to any predefined objective value calculated from the training dataset. Furthermore, to evaluate the proposed method, a comprehensive experimental study is performed based on known ordinal datasets. The proposed method is found to significantly outperform its counterpart nonordinal models. This observation confirms that ordering information benefits ordinal methods and improves their performance. Additionally, the ordinal decision tree-based methods achieved competitive performance compared to state-of-the-art ordinal techniques. The results are validated with various performance measures that are commonly used for ordinal and non-ordinal classification problems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIISE Transactions
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • AdaBoost
  • Ordinal classification
  • decision trees
  • objective-based information gain
  • random forest


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