Improving Automated Scoring of Student Open Responses in Mathematics
Abstract: Open-ended questions in mathematics are commonly used by teachers to monitor and assess students' deeper conceptual understanding of content. Student answers to these types of questions often exhibit a combination of language, drawn diagrams and tables, and mathematical formulas and expressions that supply teachers with insight into the processes and strategies adopted by students in formulating their responses. While these student responses help to inform teachers on their students' progress and understanding, the amount of variation in these responses can make it difficult and time-consuming for teachers to manually read, assess, and provide feedback to student work. For this reason, there has been a growing body of research in developing AI-powered tools to support teachers in this task. This work seeks to build upon this prior research by introducing a model that is designed to help automate the assessment of student responses to open-ended questions in mathematics through sentence-level semantic representations. We find that this model outperforms previously-published benchmarks across three different metrics. With this model, we conduct an error analysis to examine characteristics of student responses that may be considered to further improve the method.