Standard test sets for supervised learning evaluate in-distribution generalization. Unfortunately, when a dataset has systematic gaps (e.g., annotation artifacts), these evaluations are misleading: a model can learn simple decision rules that perform well on the test set but do not capture the abilities a dataset is intended to test. We propose a more rigorous annotation paradigm for NLP that helps to close systematic gaps in the test data. In particular, after a dataset is constructed, we recommend that the dataset authors manually perturb the test instances in small but meaningful ways that (typically) change the gold label, creating contrast sets. Contrast sets provide a local view of a model’s decision boundary, which can be used to more accurately evaluate a model’s true linguistic capabilities. We demonstrate the efficacy of contrast sets by creating them for 10 diverse NLP datasets (e.g., DROP reading comprehension, UD parsing, and IMDb sentiment analysis). Although our contrast sets are not explicitly adversarial, model performance is significantly lower on them than on the original test sets—up to 25% in some cases. We release our contrast sets as new evaluation benchmarks and encourage future dataset construction efforts to follow similar annotation processes.
We introduce a new dataset for joint reasoning about natural language and images, with a focus on semantic diversity, compositionality, and visual reasoning challenges. The data contains 107,292 examples of English sentences paired with web photographs. The task is to determine whether a natural language caption is true about a pair of photographs. We crowdsource the data using sets of visually rich images and a compare-and-contrast task to elicit linguistically diverse language. Qualitative analysis shows the data requires compositional joint reasoning, including about quantities, comparisons, and relations. Evaluation using state-of-the-art visual reasoning methods shows the data presents a strong challenge.