Maximus H. Chu
Text Simplification of College Admissions Instructions: A Professionally Simplified and Verified Corpus
Zachary W. Taylor | Maximus H. Chu | Junyi Jessy Li
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics
Access to higher education is critical for minority populations and emergent bilingual students. However, the language used by higher education institutions to communicate with prospective students is often too complex; concretely, many institutions in the US publish admissions application instructions far above the average reading level of a typical high school graduate, often near the 13th or 14th grade level. This leads to an unnecessary barrier between students and access to higher education. This work aims to tackle this challenge via text simplification. We present PSAT (Professionally Simplified Admissions Texts), a dataset with 112 admissions instructions randomly selected from higher education institutions across the US. These texts are then professionally simplified, and verified and accepted by subject-matter experts who are full-time employees in admissions offices at various institutions. Additionally, PSAT comes with manual alignments of 1,883 original-simplified sentence pairs. The result is a first-of-its-kind corpus for the evaluation and fine-tuning of text simplification systems in a high-stakes genre distinct from existing simplification resources.