I am the Research Director of the Natural Language Processing Group in Research & Development at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey. My research interests span natural language processing for educational technology, automated essay scoring and evaluation, discourse and sentiment analysis, argumentation mining, education policy, English language learning, and writing research. The intersection of my interests has led to these two applications: E-rater®, ETS' automated essay evaluation application, and the Language Muse Activity PaletteTM -- a new classroom tool under development targeting English learners that automatically generates language activities for classroom texts to support content comprehension. I co-organize this yearly workshop (usually at NAACL or ACL): Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA) (with Joel Tetreault, Claudia Leacock & Helen Yannakoudakis). Sign up for the BEA newsletter here.
Application-wise, my research focus targets designing NLP-centered systems for the service of learning. I have significant experience managing system design from the early idea stages through product deployment. I believe that working with users from the very early stages is critical, and this is also one of my favorite aspects of system design. I have spent a lot of time collaborating with K-12 instructors and university faculty. I have become increasingly more engaged in automated writing evaluation and writing research, advocating for building capabilities that cover a greater breadth of genres and relevant writing constructs to improve support for writing instruction and assessment.
1. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Education Technology Program, Grant Award # R305A140472 , Goal #2: Technology-Assisted Generation of Linguistically-Relevant Instructional Activities to Support ELLs in Content and Language Learning in the Content Areas, $1,499,000, Principal Investigator (with Co-PI, John Sabatini) (July 2014 - July 2017).
2. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Education Technology Program, Grant Award #R305A100105, Goal #2: A Technology-Rich Teacher Professional Development Intervention that Supports Content-Based Curriculum Development for English Language Learners, $1,499,000, Principal Investigator. (March 2010 - March 2014).