Etan Ginsberg


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Learn With Martian: A Tool For Creating Assignments That Can Write And Re-Write Themselves
Shriyash Upadhyay | Chris Callison-burch | Etan Ginsberg
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

In this paper, we propose Learn, a unified, easy-to-use tool to apply question generation and selection in classrooms. The tool lets instructors and TAs create assignments that can write and re-write themselves. Given existing course materials, for example a reference textbook, Learn can generate questions, select the highest quality questions, show the questions to students, adapt question difficulty to student knowledge, and generate new questions based on how effectively old questions help students learn. The modular, composable nature of the tools for handling each sub-task allow instructors to use only the parts of the tool necessary to the course, allowing for integration in a large number of courses with varied teaching styles. We also report on the adoption of the tool in classes at the University of Pennsylvania with over 1000 students. Learn is publicly released at

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Improving Mathematics Tutoring With A Code Scratchpad
Shriyash Upadhyay | Etan Ginsberg | Chris Callison-Burch
Proceedings of the 18th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2023)

Large language models can solve reasoning tasks (like math problems) more effectively when they are allowed to generate rationales. However, a good tutoring system should not just generate solutions, but should also generate explanations and should be able to correct and guide students. We show that providing a code scratchpad improves performance on each tutoring step with a gradeschool mathematics dataset. On these tutoring tasks, GPT-3 models provided with a code scratchpad significantly outperform those given only a language scratchpad (77.7% vs 48.7% cumulative accuracy).

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Enhancing Human Summaries for Question-Answer Generation in Education
Hannah Gonzalez | Liam Dugan | Eleni Miltsakaki | Zhiqi Cui | Jiaxuan Ren | Bryan Li | Shriyash Upadhyay | Etan Ginsberg | Chris Callison-Burch
Proceedings of the 18th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2023)

We address the problem of generating high-quality question-answer pairs for educational materials. Previous work on this problem showed that using summaries as input improves the quality of question generation (QG) over original textbook text and that human-written summaries result in higher quality QG than automatic summaries. In this paper, a) we show that advances in Large Language Models (LLMs) are not yet sufficient to generate quality summaries for QG and b) we introduce a new methodology for enhancing bullet point student notes into fully fledged summaries and find that our methodology yields higher quality QG. We conducted a large-scale human annotation study of generated question-answer pairs for the evaluation of our methodology. In order to aid in future research, we release a new dataset of 9.2K human annotations of generated questions.


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A Feasibility Study of Answer-Agnostic Question Generation for Education
Liam Dugan | Eleni Miltsakaki | Shriyash Upadhyay | Etan Ginsberg | Hannah Gonzalez | DaHyeon Choi | Chuning Yuan | Chris Callison-Burch
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

We conduct a feasibility study into the applicability of answer-agnostic question generation models to textbook passages. We show that a significant portion of errors in such systems arise from asking irrelevant or un-interpretable questions and that such errors can be ameliorated by providing summarized input. We find that giving these models human-written summaries instead of the original text results in a significant increase in acceptability of generated questions (33% 83%) as determined by expert annotators. We also find that, in the absence of human-written summaries, automatic summarization can serve as a good middle ground.