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A New Exam Management System Based on Semi-Automated Answer Checking System

A New Exam Management System Based on Semi-Automated Answer Checking System

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Published by ijcsis
The aspect of quality question creation is the most important part of any exam paper. Questions, if not well prepared, would defeat the purpose of assessing a student’s progress. Questions need to be prepared that are challenging and would force the student to show various skills such as memory, analytical, writing etc. This would truly provide a good assessment tool to find out a student’s level and separate progressing students from the ‘lacking behind’ ones. This is what the project’s goal would ultimately be, to guarantee quality questions, efficiently and effectively, that would be challenging and at the same time within the scope of the knowledge taught. Another aspect of this project is to provide a way for students to view their marks or grades in an efficient, effective and convenient manner without risks of dishonest alteration.
The aspect of quality question creation is the most important part of any exam paper. Questions, if not well prepared, would defeat the purpose of assessing a student’s progress. Questions need to be prepared that are challenging and would force the student to show various skills such as memory, analytical, writing etc. This would truly provide a good assessment tool to find out a student’s level and separate progressing students from the ‘lacking behind’ ones. This is what the project’s goal would ultimately be, to guarantee quality questions, efficiently and effectively, that would be challenging and at the same time within the scope of the knowledge taught. Another aspect of this project is to provide a way for students to view their marks or grades in an efficient, effective and convenient manner without risks of dishonest alteration.

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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 1, 2010
A New Exam Management System Based onSemi-Automated Answer Checking System
ARASH HABIBI LASHKARI
Faculty of ICTLIMKOKWING University of Creative Technology,CYBERJAYA, Selangor,Malaysiaa_habibi_l@hotmail.com
Dr. Edmund Ng Giap Weng
Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and HumanDevelopment,University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)nggiapweng@yahoo.com
BEHRANG PARHIZKAR
Faculty of ICTLIMKOKWING University of Creative Technology,CYBERJAYA, Selangor, Malaysiahaniukm@yahoo.comSITI FAZILAH SHAMSUDINFaculty of ICTLIMKOKWING University of Creative Technology,CYBERJAYA, Selangor, Malaysia
JAWAD TAYYUB
Software Engineering with MultimediaLIMKOKWING University of Creative Technology,CYBERJAYA, Selangor, Malaysia jd_tayyub@hotmail.com
 
Abstract - The aspect of quality question creation is the mostimportant part of any exam paper. Questions, if not wellprepared, would defeat the purpose of assessing a student’sprogress. Questions need to be prepared that are challengingand would force the student to show various skills such asmemory, analytical, writing etc. This would truly provide agood assessment tool to find out a student’s level and separateprogressing students from the ‘lacking behind’ ones. This iswhat the project’s goal would ultimately be, to guaranteequality questions, efficiently and effectively, that would bechallenging and at the same time within the scope of theknowledge taught. Another aspect of this project is to provide away for students to view their marks or grades in an efficient,effective and convenient manner without risks of dishonestalteration.
 Key Words - Automated Exam Assessment, Automated ExamChecking, Exam Management System, Online Exam Result Display, Grades Compilation
I.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
The methods of assessment of student’s academic abilitieshave evolved, to come up with an organized set of questionsin a bunch of papers known as exams. Every university oreducational institute has at least one or more examinationsessions, during which time, the students are subjected toquestions relating to their recent course of study. This isextremely helpful way of assessing the students because itplaces an abstract thought (rough estimate of the students’abilities) into numbers (quantifiable grade). The numbersshow the level of ability of a student, which is benefittingknowledge for students, parents, lecturers etc. During theexamination session, a number of aspects need to besimultaneously handled. These include scheduling, whereexam times and venues are decided upon, grading, whereexam papers are checked and marked, quality questioncreation etc.The aspect of quality question creation is the most importantpart of any exam paper. Questions, if not well prepared,would defeat the purpose of assessing a student’s progress.Questions need to be prepared that are challenging and wouldforce the student to show various skills such as memory,analytical, writing etc. This would truly provide a goodassessment tool to find out a student’s level and separateprogressing students from the ‘lacking behind’ ones. This iswhat the project’s goal would ultimately be, to guaranteequality questions efficiently and effectively, that would bechallenging and at the same time within the scope of theknowledge taught.Recently human race has witnessed computer technologyinvolvement in all areas of our lives; a university systempresents no exception. From registration to payments to visahandling to gym systems, all make extensive use of IT intheir operations. The project is also aiming to incorporate ITinto the realm of examination management during anexamination season. The intension is to produce a system thatwould automate the quality control of exam questionssubmitted by lecturers. Currently, this task is manuallyperformed and takes quite significant amount of time for the
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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 1, 2010
head of departments. With an automated system available,the individual lecturers could conveniently check their exampaper’s quality from their own desks. This system would bemaking use of an old concept known as Bloom’s Taxonomyto judge exam papers. It would also incorporate a novelsystem to automatically grade these exam papers, that is tosay, a system that would speed up and help lecturers in thegrading process. Lastly the system would also include a webportal for students to check their grades and view digitizedversions of sections of their answer sheets, which areshowing their mistakes. This way the students wouldn’t haveto personally see the lecturer to ask, to view their answers.This Exam System can easily be incorporated into theexisting university system. That is to say, it can merge withthe current database to retrieve students and lecturersinformation where needed. The exam management system(EMS) will prove beneficial to the lecturers, students and thefaculty.II.
 
R
EVIEW
 The system that will be developed is presents a new usage of the computer but the tools that will be used in the system donot exhibit this novelty. Basically the system will be usingtools such as symbol recognition, bloom’s taxonomy, onlinegrades presentation etc. The following will show the intendedfeatures of the system after with findings from relevantliterature will be presented.The system intended to be developed will be one of a kindwhere exam questions will be automatically placed in levelsof difficulty using keyword spotting, data mining and textmining approached primarily based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.This would help lecturers to quickly and easily find the levelof their examination questions without the need for hours of inspection. The other aspect of the proposed system would bethe automatic grading of the exam questions. This part of thesystem is involved with compiling grade lists of anexamination session. The lecturers are expected to usespecial symbols with their red ink to identify the mistakesections in the answer sheets as well as the lost marks. Thecomputer system would use symbol recognition to identifythe symbols and cut out that area of the answer and store it ina database. It will also perform numeral recognition torecognize the lost mark so the total can be deducted. All thisinformation would be stored in relational databases anduploaded to a portal which can be accessed by student to seetheir mistakes and grades with ease.III.
 
B
LOOM
S
T
AXONOMY
U
SAGE
:A strong assessment technique is very important tocategorize students into various categorize such as good,average, below average etc. This is extremely beneficial forthe students to find out their level so as to undertake measureto improve themselves. It is also beneficial for the teachersto find out the students who stand weak so as to focus onthem further. One most common way to assess a student is bycarrying out written exams. Written exam technique is onlysuccessful if combinations of questions of different andvarying difficulty are the ones comprised in the paper. Properguidelines are necessary to maintain a standard to judgedifficulty of the exam questions. This is where Bloom’sTaxonomy comes in the equation.Blooms Taxonomy is a classification system of educationobjectives, these objectives are defined by the level of student’s understanding and mastery. The taxonomy is an oldconcept developed by Benjamin Bloom in 1971. Thetaxonomy is classified into six levels of cognition. Startingwith the lowest, where a student is expected to simply recallor recognize facts, working up with increasing difficulty tothe highest where a student must show much higher levels of skill. The following diagram shows the taxonomy and it willbe the fundamental tool used in this project.
Figure 1: Bloom’s Taxonomy
Each category here has is a cognition level of difficulty andeach has its corresponding set of keyword questions whichwould be used to judge the questions difficulty level. Forexample in the easiest knowledge level, the correspondingquestions will have keywords such as define, describe orstate etc. This will be the simplest kind of questions. Now inthe analysis section, questions would be like analyze,differentiate etc.IV.
 
S
YMBOL RECOGNITION FOR ASSISTED EXAM
questionscheckingThe second aspect of the system is to check studentanswer. This would be done by recognizing special marksmade on the answer sheets by the lecturer. Existing work hasbeen studied on symbol recognition. The following techniquewas found most related.The technique uses complex algorithms and equations toperform the task of symbol recognition. My system differsfrom this one in the sense that it would be inputting existingmade symbols instead of obtaining real-time symbols butnever the less, some way of recognizing these symbols intothe computer system would be needed. That is where thissystem relates to mine. Let us briefly look at the methodthese researchers have deployed to perform symbolrecognition for their pen-based edition system.The symbols are captures by the system after which they aresegmented from any text written then analyzed andrecognized and lastly the action associated with therecognized symbol is performed. There are three blocks thatperform this action. These include the preprocessing block,the recognition block and the execution block. Thepreprocessing block is responsible for obtaining the inputsymbol and determining if it is alone or accompanied by
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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 1, 2010
some text, it would then normalize the symbol. Therecognition block would recognize the symbol along with thehandwriting, if any exists and the execution block wouldperform the action associated with the symbol. The nextfigure shows an example of what kind of symbols areintended to be recognized by this method described here.
Figure 2: Symbols to be recognized
Here these symbols are similar to the symbols that would beused in the system. The preprocessing stage consists of thesymbol and text segmentation and symbol normalization.The symbol and text segmentation will determine andseparate the symbol from text, it will also find where asymbol starts and ends. To do this they have used connectedcomponent labeling algorithm. This algorithm scans animage and groups the pixels that are of the same intensityvalue or are connected to each other in some way. This waythe computer would be able to tell if any two points are onthe same symbol or not and quickly separate the symbolsfrom each other. The advantages of using the connectcomponent labeling algorithm is its speed, but care should betaken as to not join any two symbols together or else thecomputer will consider it as the same symbol.The next stage in preprocessing is the symbol normalization.This step would normalize the symbol meaning only theimportant strokes in the symbol will be kept. This isimportant to keep the data representing the symbol as little aspossible. Never would it be the case where the implementstores entire symbols pixel by pixel but instead the startingand ending points along with some curvature points arerepresented in the computer system as data. The process toperform this is known as significant point detection. Theyused the Ramer’s polygonization algorithm for theirsignificant point detection however details of the Ramer’salgorithm are not provided in this article. The other aspect of normalization of shapes is to represent the extracted strokesas a set of equally distant points; this is done to make thesymbols handwriting speed independent. No further details of this method are provided as well. But in the system thiswould not be necessary as the system would not be gettingreal time symbols so as to take care of the speed of writing, itwould be using pre written symbols so the speed isn’t afactor.
Figure 3: The segmentation and separation of the symbols is shown
Now once the symbol has been preprocessed, it is time torecognize it. To recognize symbols a set of pre-classifiedsymbols need to be stored in the computer to match theinputted symbols. The recognizer, as it is dealing with thehandwritten symbols, should be able to deal with thedifferent styles and variances of writing the symbols. Theseare symbols of different lengths sized etc. The articleproposed using a Support Vector Machine (SVM) to classifysymbols. This is important as the SVM is better than theother classifiers.To describe the shape of the symbols a mathematical conceptof moments is used in this paper. Exact detail of how themoments work will not be deeply explored at this stage.There are many types of moments, here three types of moments namely:1.
 
Central Moments,2.
 
Legendre Moments and3.
 
Zernike Moments are used.The article shows that Legendre moments have yielded thebest result in terms of the recognition of symbols (97 percent)but at the expense of the processing speed. This is still betterthan the central and Zernike moments. The article providesformula for each of the moments for example to calculatemoments of a function using the Legendre moments; thefollowing formula will be used:
Formula 1: Legendre moments
Next the formula needed to represent the online symbol isgiven as follows:
Formula 2: Function to represent the symbol
In the above formula, the symbol that has been segmentedand normalized will be placed in this representation. Here theNs is the total number of strokes in the symbol. So, in theproposed system, a ‘_|’ symbol would probably have twostrokes and therefore the summation of s from 1 to 2 will takeplace. For each summation of the number of strokes, an innersummation would add up the Dirac delta function for eachpoint on the stroke as i refer to the number of points on thestroke. r shows all points on the symbol and shows thepoints on the current stroke s. The next step is to scale theobtained features of the symbol on the training set of existingsymbols in the memory. The scaling takes place with use of some more equations but the purpose of scaling is to obtainall features that have comparable dynamic ranges so they canbe matched.Another addition to the technique that is mentioned in thepaper is the use of fast-lookup tables to identify symbols.Symbols that are very well drawn do not need to go throughthe steps of feature extraction and Support Vector Machineclassifier. They can be directly matched by obtaining chaincode directions of the symbol and comparing them againstthe table of ideal chain codes for the symbols. If there is amatch that is well and good otherwise the symbol needs to berecognized by moments and classifiers. This does save somequite significant amount of time.
185http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500

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