A Comparative Study on Question-Worthy Sentence Selection Strategies for Educational Question Generation

Guanliang Chen, Jie Yang, Dragan Gašević

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Automatic question generation, which aims at converting sentences in an article to high-quality questions, is an important task for educational practices. Recent work mainly focuses on designing effective generation architectures based on deep neural networks. However, the first and possibly the foremost step of automatic question generation has largely been ignored, i.e., identifying sentences carrying important information or knowledge that is worth asking questions about. In this work, we (i) propose a total of 9 strategies, which are grounded on heuristic question-asking assumptions, to determine sentences that are question-worthy, and (ii) compare their performance on 4 datasets by using the identified sentences as input for a well-trained question generator. Through extensive experiments, we show that (i) LexRank, a stochastic graph-based method for selecting important sentences from articles, gives robust performance across all datasets, (ii) questions collected in educational settings feature a more diverse set of source sentences than those obtained in non-educational settings, and (iii) more research efforts are needed to further improve the design of educational question generation architectures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtificial Intelligence in Education - 20th International Conference, AIED 2019, Proceedings
EditorsSeiji Isotani, Eva Millán, Amy Ogan, Bruce McLaren, Peter Hastings, Rose Luckin
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783030232030
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11625 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


  • Deep neural network
  • Educational question generation
  • Sentence selection


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