Assessing Language Proficiency from Eye Movements in Reading

Yevgeni Berzak, Boris Katz, Roger Levy


Abstract
We present a novel approach for determining learners’ second language proficiency which utilizes behavioral traces of eye movements during reading. Our approach provides stand-alone eyetracking based English proficiency scores which reflect the extent to which the learner’s gaze patterns in reading are similar to those of native English speakers. We show that our scores correlate strongly with standardized English proficiency tests. We also demonstrate that gaze information can be used to accurately predict the outcomes of such tests. Our approach yields the strongest performance when the test taker is presented with a suite of sentences for which we have eyetracking data from other readers. However, it remains effective even using eyetracking with sentences for which eye movement data have not been previously collected. By deriving proficiency as an automatic byproduct of eye movements during ordinary reading, our approach offers a potentially valuable new tool for second language proficiency assessment. More broadly, our results open the door to future methods for inferring reader characteristics from the behavioral traces of reading.
Anthology ID:
N18-1180
Volume:
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)
Month:
June
Year:
2018
Address:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Venue:
NAACL
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
1986–1996
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/N18-1180
DOI:
10.18653/v1/N18-1180
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Yevgeni Berzak, Boris Katz, and Roger Levy. 2018. Assessing Language Proficiency from Eye Movements in Reading. In Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers), pages 1986–1996, New Orleans, Louisiana. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Assessing Language Proficiency from Eye Movements in Reading (Berzak et al., NAACL 2018)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/N18-1180.pdf
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