2017Q3 Reports: SIGEDU

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This is the first report for SIGEDU as our proposal for a special interest group was accepted this April! The ACL Special Interest Group on Education (SIGEDU) is intended to provide a forum for NLP and Computational Linguistics researchers who are developing language technologies with an educational focus. Specifically, the purpose of the SIG is to:

  • To promote interest in applying Natural Language Processing for Building Educational Applications to serve a wide breadth of learner and test taker populations. Topics include, but are not limited to, such aspects as:
    • Automated assessment of written or spoken test taker responses
    • Spoken dialogue, Game-based assessment, Collaborative environments, and Intelligent Tutoring (IT) that incorporates NLP
    • Development and Evaluation of tools for classroom teachers and/or test developers
    • Innovative applications to support learning at scale, personalized learning and learning analytics
    • Use of corpora in educational tools
  • To provide members of the ACL who have a special interest in Educational Applications of NLP with a means of exchanging news of recent research developments
  • To sponsor meetings and workshops (such as the BEA workshop) in the Edu-NLP domain, that appear to be timely and worthwhile
  • To make it easier to coordinate/share organization efforts for joint meetings and workshops with related ACL SIGs
  • To provide and make available relevant resources, including previous BEA workshop proceedings, bibliographies, test suites, tools, applications, research papers and publicly available libraries and generated resources


Our first elections will take place at the end of 2017. The interim officers are:

President: Joel Tetreault (Grammarly)

Secretary: Helen Yannakoudakis (Cambridge University)

Treasurer: Jill Burstein (Educational Testing Service)

Resource Manager: Sowmya Vajjala (Iowa State University)

Board Members: Ekaterina Kochmar (Cambridge University), Claudia Leacock (Grammarly), Ildiko Pilan (University of Gothenburg), Torsten Zesch (University of Duisburg-Essen)


Our membership stands at 106 researchers.


SIGEDU’s main event, the BEA workshop, will be held for the 12th time on September 8, 2017 in Copenhagen, co-located with EMNLP 2017. The workshop co-chairs are Joel Tetreault (Grammarly), Jill Burstein (Educational Testing Service), Claudia Leacock (Grammarly), Helen Yannakoudakis (Cambridge University) and Ekaterina Kochmar (Cambridge University). The workshop is one of the longest running workshops in the ACL universe and this year had a record 59 submissions. Of those 59, 9 were accepted for oral presentations and 25 for poster presentations for an overall acceptance rate of 57%.

In addition, the BEA12 hosted the 2017 Native Language Identification Shared Task of which 19 teams participated. 17 submitted system descriptions will be presented as posters. A description of the shared task will be presented orally.

BEA12 Website: https://www.cs.rochester.edu/~tetreaul/emnlp-bea12.html

2017 NLI Shared Task: https://sites.google.com/site/nlisharedtask/home