This paper proposes to adapt self-attention to discourse level for modeling discourse elements in argumentative student essays. Specifically, we focus on two issues. First, we propose structural sentence positional encodings to explicitly represent sentence positions. Second, we propose to use inter-sentence attentions to capture sentence interactions and enhance sentence representation. We conduct experiments on two datasets: a Chinese dataset and an English dataset. We find that (i) sentence positional encoding can lead to a large improvement for identifying discourse elements; (ii) a structural relative positional encoding of sentences shows to be most effective; (iii) inter-sentence attention vectors are useful as a kind of sentence representations for identifying discourse elements.
This paper proposes a pre-training based automated Chinese essay scoring method. The method involves three components: weakly supervised pre-training, supervised cross- prompt fine-tuning and supervised target- prompt fine-tuning. An essay scorer is first pre- trained on a large essay dataset covering diverse topics and with coarse ratings, i.e., good and poor, which are used as a kind of weak supervision. The pre-trained essay scorer would be further fine-tuned on previously rated es- says from existing prompts, which have the same score range with the target prompt and provide extra supervision. At last, the scorer is fine-tuned on the target-prompt training data. The evaluation on four prompts shows that this method can improve a state-of-the-art neural essay scorer in terms of effectiveness and domain adaptation ability, while in-depth analysis also reveals its limitations..