Development of an Automatic Multiple Choice Question Generation System to Promote Understanding of Programming Concepts


Gagné, a learning psychologist, defined four hierarchical elements of learning skills: problem-solving, rules, concepts, and discriminations. These intellectual skills form a hierarchical structure with problem-solving at the top, followed by rules, concepts, and discriminations. Mastering lower-order skills is essential for higher-order skill acquisition. We apply this theory to programming education. In programming education, students are sometimes given questions that require them to use a programming language to implement an algorithm or create a program that satisfies a certain specification. Such questions belong to the problem-solving type in the Gagné classification. Problem-solving is at the top of the hierarchy and may be difficult for beginning students to solve from the beginning. Ideally, students should start with simpler problems and progress to more complex ones as their understanding deepens. Programming is based on fundamental "concepts" like variables and methods, and "rules" such as syntax for transforming class diagrams into source code. These two skills are the lower level and are important for mastering programming skills. Hence, we have developed an automated system that generates problems promoting a step-by-step understanding of these concepts. The system marks programming concepts such as variables and methods, and outputs multiple-choice questions in PDF format that require the user to select the option that matches the specified concept. The system generated questions for approximately fifty study items that the authors defined. The system's output was improved by reviewing the problem and incorporating the feedback.

Author Information
Yoshiki Sugihara, Graduate School of Tokyo Denki University, Japan
Tatsuyuki Takano, Kanto Gakuin University, Japan
Takashi Kohama, Tokyo Denki University, Japan
Osamu Miyakawa, Tokyo Denki University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2023
Stream: Design

This paper is part of the ACE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Sugihara Y., Takano T., Kohama T., & Miyakawa O. (2024) Development of an Automatic Multiple Choice Question Generation System to Promote Understanding of Programming Concepts ISSN: 2186-5892 The Asian Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon