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Overcoming semantic challenges in selection of distractors for multiple-choice vocabulary exercises (2016)

Overcoming semantic challenges in selection of distractors for multiple-choice vocabulary exercises

Goal

Find a way to make sure that distractors in multiple-choice activities are genuine (i.e. cannot be used instead of the correct answer) in the context of a sentence/exercise item. This is primarily aimed at Swedish, but other languages are possible candidates as well.


Background

Multiple-choice items for training vocabulary knowledge is a well-documented format of exercise. However, when it comes to the automatic generation of this exercise type, it becomes a complicated problem to select genuinely appropriate distractors. For example, if a learner wants to train vocabulary from the topical domain of “Medical services and SOS”, answer options from the same topical domain might be generated as follows:


Parents couldn't afford to buy the necessary _________.

Choices: pincers, medicine, tablets, blood, hospital, nurse (correct answer in bold)


More than one alternative from the example above can be used to fill the gap (i.e. pincers, medicine, tablets). However, it is important to be able to select such distractors that cannot replace the correct answer, semantically or collocationally viewed, in the context of a sentence, e.g. in the case above to suggest choices: medicine, blood, hospital, nurse, emergency room


Problem description

The aim of this work is thus:

  • to study the literature on the topic of distractor selection, lexical semantics and context modeling
  • implement/test some approach(es) for a semantically aware selection of distractors
  • embed the selection algorithm into Lärka as a web service
  • evaluate/test on users (language learners, teachers, linguists, etc.)


Recommended skills:

  • Python
  • interest in Lexical Semantics


Supervisor(s)

  • Elena Volodina, Ildiko Pilan
  • potentially others from Språkbanken/FLOV
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Page updated: 2016-11-15 11:09

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