Learning to Tutor Like a Tutor: Ranking Questions in Context

Lee Becker, Martha Palmer, Sarel van Vuuren, Wayne Ward

Asking questions in a context relevant manner is a critical behavior for intelligent tutoring systems; however even within a single pedagogy there may be numerous valid strategies. This paper explores the use of supervised ranking models to rank candidate questions in the context of tutorial dialogues. By training models on individual and aggregate judgments from experienced tutors, we learn to reproduce individual and average preferences in questioning. Analysis of our models’ performance across different tutors highlights differences in individual teaching preferences and illustrates the impact of surface form, semantic and pragmatic features for modeling variations in tutoring styles. This work has implications for dialogue system design and provides a natural starting point towards creating tunable and customizable tutorial dialogue interactions.

The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-30950-2_48.