Assessing the Benchmarking Capacity of Machine Reading Comprehension Datasets


  • Saku Sugawara University of Tokyo
  • Pontus Stenetorp University College London
  • Kentaro Inui Tohoku University
  • Akiko Aizawa National Institute of Informatics



Existing analysis work in machine reading comprehension (MRC) is largely concerned with evaluating the capabilities of systems. However, the capabilities of datasets are not assessed for benchmarking language understanding precisely. We propose a semi-automated, ablation-based methodology for this challenge; By checking whether questions can be solved even after removing features associated with a skill requisite for language understanding, we evaluate to what degree the questions do not require the skill. Experiments on 10 datasets (e.g., CoQA, SQuAD v2.0, and RACE) with a strong baseline model show that, for example, the relative scores of the baseline model provided with content words only and with shuffled sentence words in the context are on average 89.2% and 78.5% of the original scores, respectively. These results suggest that most of the questions already answered correctly by the model do not necessarily require grammatical and complex reasoning. For precise benchmarking, MRC datasets will need to take extra care in their design to ensure that questions can correctly evaluate the intended skills.




How to Cite

Sugawara, S., Stenetorp, P., Inui, K., & Aizawa, A. (2020). Assessing the Benchmarking Capacity of Machine Reading Comprehension Datasets. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 34(05), 8918-8927.



AAAI Technical Track: Natural Language Processing