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Auto grader for Short Answer Questions

Pranjal Patil ( Ashwin Agrawal (

Background and Motivation Models and Results Seen

Auto-grading Questions
K Nearest Neighbours Discussion
Short-answer questions can target learning
goals more effectively than multiple choice Unseen Hybrid Siamese Neural
• Evaluation of sentence similarity can be
as they eliminate test-taking shortcuts like Questions Network
improved by providing a sentence similarity
eliminating improbable answers. However, index in addition to 0/1 labels.
staff grading of textual answers simply Word
Cosine K-nearest • We found in k-NN approach that correct
doesn’t scale to massive classes. Grading Embedding
Similarity neighbours
Accuracy = 79%
Embedding responses are unexpectedly very similar
answers has always been time consuming and hence we inserted more reference
and costs a lot of Public dollars in the Weight = idf * (w_pos - w_neg); W_pos = Correct answers with given word/Total number of correct answers answers to cover all writing styles and
US. We start in this project by tackling the W_neg = Wrong answers with given word/Total number of wrong answers
reinforce the algorithm’s similarity
simplest problem where we attempt to detection.
make an machine learning based system • The hybrid model tend to misclassify long
which would automatically grade one line Model Accuracy MSE
(%) sentences which probably can be improved
answers based on the given reference by using a different attention layer.
answers. LSTM + Manhattan 62% 0.25
Distance [1] • The hybrid model also especially
misclassifies the sentences which have the
LSTM + Attention + FNN 73% 0.18
keyword missing in them or written in some
Dataset and Features [2]
other form.
• We chose the publicly available Student CNN + Bi - LSTM + 69% 0.20
Response Analysis (SRA) dataset. Within the Q. What is the relation between tree rings and
dataset we used the SciEntsBank part. Our Model 76% 0.16 time?
• This dataset consists of 135 questions from • We created an expansion of the Siamese neural network to employ bidirectional LSTM with
various physical sciences domain. It has a attention layer and mixed it with KNN’s intuition to achieve better results. Ref: As time increases, number of tree rings
reference short answer and 36 student • The branches of the network learn sentence embedding for each of the student answer and also increases.
responses per question. reference answer. After merging, a fully connected layer measured the similarity between the Ans: They are both increasing
• Total size of dataset is 4860 data points. two answers to score the answer as correct or incorrect.
• In the initial models we used Manhattan distance, cosine similarity as the similarity metric. Original Label: Correct
• Ground truth labels are available in the
Model Result: Misclassified due to missing
dataset whether each student response is Data split : 80% train, 10% validation, 10% test data ; Loss: Binary Cross Entropy; Optimizer: Adam
correct or incorrect. Epochs: 50; Attention Layer: Softmax

Data pre-processing including tokenization, Future Work References

stemming and spell checking each of the • Trying out different attention layer to smooth 1. Jonas Muller and Aditya Thygarajan, “Siamese
student responses. out key word issue Recurrent Architecture for learning sentence
similarity”, AAAI-16
• We would like to improve this model and run
We used the Pre-trained Glove embedding it on a larger unseen and out of domain 2. Ziming Chi and Bingyan Zhang, “A sentence similarity
trained on Wikipedia and Gigaword 5 with 400K dataset to gauge its robustness.
estimation method based on improved Siamese
vocabulary and 300 features. Network”, JILSA-2018
• Try adding better reference answers or better 3. Tianqi Wang, “Identifying Current Issues in Short
similarity detection mechanisms. Answer Grading”, ANLP-2018