Automatic question generation system for english reading comprehension

Yin Chun Fung, Jason Chun Wai Kwok, Lap Kei Lee, Kwok Tai Chui, Leong Hou U

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a web-based automatic question generation (AQG) system to generate reading comprehension questions and multiple-choice (MC) questions on grammar from a given English text. Such system saves teachers’ time on setting questions and facilitates students and their parents to prepare self-learning exercises. Our web-based system can automatically generate Wh-questions (i.e., what, who, when, where, why, and how) and MC grammar questions of selected sentences. Wh-questions can also be generated from user-specified answer phrases. The generation of Wh-questions exploits the pre-trained natural language understanding model, Text-To-Text Transfer Transformer (T5), and an adapted version of the SQuAD 2.0 machine reading comprehension dataset. The generation of MC questions involves identifying regular verbs in a text and using the verb’s lexemes as the answer choices. Our system takes an average time of about 1 s to generate a Wh-question and it generates a MC question almost instantly. User evaluation indicated that our system is easy-to-use and satisfactory in usefulness, usability, and quality, revealing the effectiveness of our system for teachers and parents.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnology in Education. Innovations for Online Teaching and Learning - 5th International Conference, ICTE 2020, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsLap-Kei Lee, Leong Hou U, Fu Lee Wang, Simon K. Cheung, Oliver Au, Kam Cheong Li
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event5th International Conference on Technology in Education, ICTE 2020 - Macao, China
Duration: 19 Aug 202022 Aug 2020

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


Conference5th International Conference on Technology in Education, ICTE 2020


  • Automatic question generation
  • English reading comprehension
  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Natural language processing
  • Wh-questions


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