Prompt Agnostic Essay Scorer: A Domain Generalization Approach to Cross-prompt Automated Essay Scoring

4 Aug 2020  ·  Robert Ridley, Liang He, Xin-yu Dai, Shu-Jian Huang, Jia-Jun Chen ·

Cross-prompt automated essay scoring (AES) requires the system to use non target-prompt essays to award scores to a target-prompt essay. Since obtaining a large quantity of pre-graded essays to a particular prompt is often difficult and unrealistic, the task of cross-prompt AES is vital for the development of real-world AES systems, yet it remains an under-explored area of research. Models designed for prompt-specific AES rely heavily on prompt-specific knowledge and perform poorly in the cross-prompt setting, whereas current approaches to cross-prompt AES either require a certain quantity of labelled target-prompt essays or require a large quantity of unlabelled target-prompt essays to perform transfer learning in a multi-step manner. To address these issues, we introduce Prompt Agnostic Essay Scorer (PAES) for cross-prompt AES. Our method requires no access to labelled or unlabelled target-prompt data during training and is a single-stage approach. PAES is easy to apply in practice and achieves state-of-the-art performance on the Automated Student Assessment Prize (ASAP) dataset.

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