OPEN SOURCE SOLUTIONS TO AUTOMATIC GENERATION OF TESTS AND EXAMINATIONS

  • J. M. Kihoro E-learning Department, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Nairobi, Kenya Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • R. Ibuka E-learning Department, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Nairobi, Kenya Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Keywords: Random generation, latex, examinations, database

Abstract

One obvious challenge in any learning institution is testing and examining learners with standard papers. Many
are the times that the examiners have little time to think through questions based on the provided course
outlines especially if they have never taught the subject before. Availability of a database of past questions
with expected answers can be very useful in orienting both the tutor and the students. This paper explains a
system that provides an open source solution to dynamic generation of examinations through pre-set
templates. The generation is achieved by integrating the capabilities of open source software to perform
random selection of testing questions from a database of questions stored in a LaTeX file. The idea is to have a
single file containing every approved question and accompanying answer and let the system randomly pick
pre-specified number of questions on each request through a link. The selected questions are compiled into a
Portable Document Format (PDF) output file, which can be printed or be saved for future administration. The
system allows any type of question with excellent graphics when drawn using pstricks. The tutor can edit the
existing template of questions by adding or deleting questions, modifying the answers and resetting the
parameters such as the numbers of questions per exam. It is also possible to switch on and off the generation
of the marking scheme. The system can be used by the exam processing office or just to support learning as a
library support system. The main challenge is to convert all current and previous questions into latex as
question-solutions format which must be as specified and thus the examiner requires initial training on use of
Latex to typeset.

Published
2019-05-15