The K-Means Algorithm for Generating Sets of Items in Educational Assessment

Lala Septem Riza, Rendi Adistya Rosdiyana, Alejandro Rosales Pérez, Asep Wahyudin


In a national-scale educational assessment system, such as the National Examination, the need for several sets of questions that have the same level of difficulty is very required to avoid cheating by students. Therefore, the objective, which is to make a set of questions with the same level of difficulty automatically, is done in this research. It used a machine learning approach, namely K-Means. To achieve this goal, several following procedures need to be implemented. Firstly, we need to create banks of questions to be assigned to students. Then, we build training data by determining the value of each question based on Bloom's Taxonomy, item characters/types, and other parameters. Then, with utilizing K-Means, several cluster centers are obtained to represent the uniformity of the questions in the cluster members. By using several heuristics criteria defined previously, several sets or packages of questions that have the same characteristics and difficulty levels are obtained. From the experiments conducted, the analysis with descriptive (i.e., mean, standard deviation, and data visualization) and inference (i.e., ANOVA) statistics of results are presented showing that questions of each sets have the same characteristics to ensure the fairness of examinations. Moreover, by using this system, the contents of the questions in the generated set do not need to be the same, the package of questions can be generated automatically quickly, and the level of the difficulties can be measured and guaranteed.


Education assessment, Machine learning, Data analysis, Educational evaluation, Intelligent systems.

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