Science instructors need questions for use in exams, homework assignments, class discussions, reviews, and other instructional activities. Textbooks never have enough questions, so instructors must find them from other sources or generate their own questions. In order to supply instructors with biology questions, a semantic network approach was developed for generating open response biology questions. The generated questions were compared to professional authorized questions.
To boost students’ learning experience, adaptive selection was built on the generated questions. Bayesian Knowledge Tracing was used as embedded assessment of the student’s current competence so that a suitable question could be selected based on the student’s previous performance. A between-subjects experiment with 42 participants was performed, where half of the participants studied with adaptive selected questions and the rest studied with mal-adaptive order of questions. Both groups significantly improved their test scores, and the participants in adaptive group registered larger learning gains than participants in the control group.
To explore the possibility of generating rich instructional feedback for machine-generated questions, a question-paragraph mapping task was identified. Given a set of questions and a list of paragraphs for a textbook, the goal of the task was to map the related paragraphs to each question. An algorithm was developed whose performance was comparable to human annotators.
A multiple-choice question with high quality distractors (incorrect answers) can be pedagogically valuable as well as being much easier to grade than open-response questions. Thus, an algorithm was developed to generate good distractors for multiple-choice questions. The machine-generated multiple-choice questions were compared to human-generated questions in terms of three measures: question difficulty, question discrimination and distractor usefulness. By recruiting 200 participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk, it turned out that the two types of questions performed very closely on all the three measures.
- Biology question generation from a semantic network