Open cloze tests are a standard type of exercise where examinees must complete a text by filling in the gaps without any given options to choose from. This paper presents the Cambridge Exams Publishing Open Cloze (CEPOC) dataset, a collection of open cloze tests from world-renowned English language proficiency examinations. The tests in CEPOC have been expertly designed and validated using standard principles in language research and assessment. They are prepared for language learners at different proficiency levels and hence classified into different CEFR levels (A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). This resource can be a valuable testbed for various NLP tasks. We perform a complete set of experiments on three tasks: gap filling, gap prediction, and CEFR text classification. We implement transformer-based systems based on pre-trained language models to model each task and use our dataset as a test set, providing promising benchmark results.
This paper presents the first multi-objective transformer model for generating open cloze tests that exploits generation and discrimination capabilities to improve performance. Our model is further enhanced by tweaking its loss function and applying a post-processing re-ranking algorithm that improves overall test structure. Experiments using automatic and human evaluation show that our approach can achieve up to 82% accuracy according to experts, outperforming previous work and baselines. We also release a collection of high-quality open cloze tests along with sample system output and human annotations that can serve as a future benchmark.
Grammatical Error Correction (GEC) is the task of automatically detecting and correcting all types of errors in written text. Although most research has focused on correcting errors in the context of English as a Second Language (ESL), GEC can also be applied to other languages and native text. The main application of a GEC system is thus to assist humans with their writing. Academic and commercial interest in GEC has grown significantly since the Helping Our Own (HOO) and Conference on Natural Language Learning (CoNLL) shared tasks in 2011-14, and a record-breaking 24 teams took part in the recent Building Educational Applications (BEA) shared task. Given this interest, and the recent shift towards neural approaches, we believe the time is right to offer a tutorial on GEC for researchers who may be new to the field or who are interested in the current state of the art and future challenges. With this in mind, the main goal of this tutorial is not only to bring attendees up to speed with GEC in general, but also examine the development of neural-based GEC systems.
This paper presents a pilot study of entropy as a measure of gap complexity in open cloze tests aimed at learners of English. Entropy is used to quantify the information content in each gap, which can be used to estimate complexity. Our study shows that average gap entropy correlates positively with proficiency levels while individual gap entropy can capture contextual complexity. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first unsupervised information-theoretical approach to evaluating the quality of cloze tests.
This paper reports on the BEA-2019 Shared Task on Grammatical Error Correction (GEC). As with the CoNLL-2014 shared task, participants are required to correct all types of errors in test data. One of the main contributions of the BEA-2019 shared task is the introduction of a new dataset, the Write&Improve+LOCNESS corpus, which represents a wider range of native and learner English levels and abilities. Another contribution is the introduction of tracks, which control the amount of annotated data available to participants. Systems are evaluated in terms of ERRANT F_0.5, which allows us to report a much wider range of performance statistics. The competition was hosted on Codalab and remains open for further submissions on the blind test set.
Shortage of available training data is holding back progress in the area of automated error detection. This paper investigates two alternative methods for artificially generating writing errors, in order to create additional resources. We propose treating error generation as a machine translation task, where grammatically correct text is translated to contain errors. In addition, we explore a system for extracting textual patterns from an annotated corpus, which can then be used to insert errors into grammatically correct sentences. Our experiments show that the inclusion of artificially generated errors significantly improves error detection accuracy on both FCE and CoNLL 2014 datasets.
Until now, error type performance for Grammatical Error Correction (GEC) systems could only be measured in terms of recall because system output is not annotated. To overcome this problem, we introduce ERRANT, a grammatical ERRor ANnotation Toolkit designed to automatically extract edits from parallel original and corrected sentences and classify them according to a new, dataset-agnostic, rule-based framework. This not only facilitates error type evaluation at different levels of granularity, but can also be used to reduce annotator workload and standardise existing GEC datasets. Human experts rated the automatic edits as “Good” or “Acceptable” in at least 95% of cases, so we applied ERRANT to the system output of the CoNLL-2014 shared task to carry out a detailed error type analysis for the first time.
We propose a new method of automatically extracting learner errors from parallel English as a Second Language (ESL) sentences in an effort to regularise annotation formats and reduce inconsistencies. Specifically, given an original and corrected sentence, our method first uses a linguistically enhanced alignment algorithm to determine the most likely mappings between tokens, and secondly employs a rule-based function to decide which alignments should be merged. Our method beats all previous approaches on the tested datasets, achieving state-of-the-art results for automatic error extraction.