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I have 2 sets of data which consist of marks of 60 students in a particular subject in year 1 and year 2 respectively.

Year 1 : 86, 76, 87, 67, 89, 95.... so on (60 students)

Year 2 : 82, 67, 99, 77, 65, 78.... so on (60 students)

I want to compare these two sets of marks and find if year 2 students performed better than year 1 students.

What kind of techniques are appropriate for this problem? I was told that the statistical techniques like ANOVA, hypothesis testing techniques are too common for this problem and I was asked to try something with Machine learning.

Does machine learning fit in the picture? If yes, what kind of algorithms could be used?

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No, this is the classical application of statistical test. You should consider the problem in the scope of two-sample test. Machine learning does not fit in the picture.

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