For offering proactive services to students in intelligent education, one of the fundamental tasks is predicting their performance (e.g., scores) on future exercises, where it is necessary to track each student's knowledge acquisition during her exercising activities. However, existing approaches can only exploit the exercising records of students, and the problem of extracting rich information existed in the exercise's materials (e.g., knowledge concepts, exercise content) to achieve both precise predictions of student performance and interpretable analysis of knowledge acquisition remains underexplored. In this paper, we present a holistic study of student performance prediction. To directly achieve the primary goal of prediction, we first propose a general Exercise-Enhanced Recurrent Neural Network (EERNN) framework by exploring both student's records and the exercise contents. In EERNN, we simply summarize each student's state into an integrated vector and trace it with a recurrent neural network, where we design a bidirectional LSTM to learn the encoding of each exercise's content. For making predictions, we propose two implementations under EERNN with different strategies, i.e., EERNNM with Markov property and EERNNA with Attention mechanism. Then, to explicitly track student's knowledge acquisition on multiple knowledge concepts, we extend EERNN to an explainable Exercise-aware Knowledge Tracing (EKT) by incorporating the knowledge concept effects, where the student's integrated state vector is extended to a knowledge state matrix. In EKT, we further develop a memory network for quantifying how much each exercise can affect the mastery of students on concepts during the exercising process. Finally, we conduct extensive experiments on large-scale real-world data. The results demonstrate the prediction effectiveness of two frameworks as well as the superior interpretability of EKT.