An intelligent testing system embedded with an ant-colony-optimization- based test composition method

Xiao Min Hu*, Jun Zhang, Henry Shu Hung Chung, Ou Liu, Jing Xiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Computer-assisted testing systems are promising in generating tests efficiently and effectively for evaluating a person's skill. This paper develops a novel intelligent testing system for both teachers and students. Based on the Browser/Server structure, the proposed testing system comprises a question bank and five modules, offering the features of self-adaptation, reliability, and flexibility for generating parallel tests with identical test ability. The core of the developed system is the ant-colony-optimizationbased test composition (ACO-TC) method, which aims at generating high-quality tests for examinations and satisfying multiple requirements. As an advanced computational intelligence algorithm, the proposed ACO-TC method uses a colony of ants to select appropriate questions from a question bank to construct solutions. Pheromone and heuristic information is designed for facilitating the ants' selection. The system is analyzed by composing tests in different situations. The generated tests not only match the expected total completion time, the concept proportions, the average difficulty, and the score proportions of different question types, but also have high average discrimination degrees of questions. The experimental results also show that the system can always generate high-quality tests from question banks with various sizes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-669
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics Part C: Applications and Reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Ant colony optimization (ACO)
  • Computer assisted
  • Intelligent education system
  • Test composition
  • Testing system
  • Tutoring system


Dive into the research topics of 'An intelligent testing system embedded with an ant-colony-optimization- based test composition method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this