Structural information in mathematical formulas for exercise difficulty prediction: a comparison of NLP representations
Proceedings of the 17th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2022)
To tailor a learning system to the student’s level and needs, we must consider the characteristics of the learning content, such as its difficulty. While natural language processing allows us to represent text efficiently, the meaningful representation of mathematical formulas in an educational context is still understudied. This paper adopts structural embeddings as a possible way to bridge this gap. Our experiments validate the approach using publicly available datasets to show that incorporating syntactic information can improve performance in predicting the exercise difficulty.
Towards the Application of Calibrated Transformers to the Unsupervised Estimation of Question Difficulty from Text
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2021)
Being able to accurately perform Question Difficulty Estimation (QDE) can improve the accuracy of students’ assessment and better their learning experience. Traditional approaches to QDE are either subjective or introduce a long delay before new questions can be used to assess students. Thus, recent work proposed machine learning-based approaches to overcome these limitations. They use questions of known difficulty to train models capable of inferring the difficulty of questions from their text. Once trained, they can be used to perform QDE of newly created questions. Existing approaches employ supervised models which are domain-dependent and require a large dataset of questions of known difficulty for training. Therefore, they cannot be used if such a dataset is not available ( for new courses on an e-learning platform). In this work, we experiment with the possibility of performing QDE from text in an unsupervised manner. Specifically, we use the uncertainty of calibrated question answering models as a proxy of human-perceived difficulty. Our experiments show promising results, suggesting that model uncertainty could be successfully leveraged to perform QDE from text, reducing both costs and elapsed time.