On Understanding the Relation between Expert Annotations of Text Readability and Target Reader Comprehension

Sowmya Vajjala, Ivana Lucic


Abstract
Automatic readability assessment aims to ensure that readers read texts that they can comprehend. However, computational models are typically trained on texts created from the perspective of the text writer, not the target reader. There is little experimental research on the relationship between expert annotations of readability, reader’s language proficiency, and different levels of reading comprehension. To address this gap, we conducted a user study in which over a 100 participants read texts of different reading levels and answered questions created to test three forms of comprehension. Our results indicate that more than readability annotation or reader proficiency, it is the type of comprehension question asked that shows differences between reader responses - inferential questions were difficult for users of all levels of proficiency across reading levels. The data collected from this study will be released with this paper, which will, for the first time, provide a collection of 45 reader bench marked texts to evaluate readability assessment systems developed for adult learners of English. It can also potentially be useful for the development of question generation approaches in intelligent tutoring systems research.
Anthology ID:
W19-4437
Volume:
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications
Month:
August
Year:
2019
Address:
Florence, Italy
Venues:
ACL | BEA | WS
SIG:
SIGEDU
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
349–359
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/W19-4437
DOI:
10.18653/v1/W19-4437
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Sowmya Vajjala and Ivana Lucic. 2019. On Understanding the Relation between Expert Annotations of Text Readability and Target Reader Comprehension. In Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications, pages 349–359, Florence, Italy. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
On Understanding the Relation between Expert Annotations of Text Readability and Target Reader Comprehension (Vajjala & Lucic, 2019)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/W19-4437.pdf
Code
 nishkalavallabhi/BEA19UserstudyData