A Novel Framework for the Generation of Multiple Choice Question Stems Using Semantic and Machine-Learning Techniques

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are a popular assessment method because they enable automated evaluation, flexible administration and use with huge groups. Despite these benefits, the manual construction of MCQs is challenging, time-consuming and error-prone. This is because each MCQ is comprised of a question called the "stem", a correct option called the "key" along with alternative options called "distractors" whose construction demands expertise from the MCQ developers. In addition, there are different kinds of MCQs such as Wh-type, Fill-in-the-blank, Odd one out, and many more needed to assess understanding at different cognitive levels. Automatic Question Generation (AQG) for developing heterogeneous MCQ stems has generally followed two approaches: semantics-based and machine-learning-based. Questions generated via AQG techniques can be utilized only if they are grammatically correct. Semantics-based techniques have been able to generate a range of different types of grammatically correct MCQs but require the semantics to be specified. In contrast, most machine-learning approaches have been primarily able to generate only grammatically correct Fill-in-the-blank/Cloze by reusing the original text. This paper describes a technique for combining semantic-based and machine-learning-based techniques to generate grammatically correct MCQ stems of various types for a technical domain. Expert evaluation of the resultant MCQ stems demonstrated that they were promising in terms of their usefulness and grammatical correctness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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