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Examining Linguistic Characteristics of Paraphrase in Test-Taker Summaries TOEFL

Burstein, Jill; Flor, Michael; Tetreault, Joel R.; Madnani, Nitin; Holtzman, Steven
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Summary Writing, Annotation Study, Paraphrase Strategies, Non-Native Speakers, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Electronic Essay Rater (E-rater), Writing


This annotation study is designed to help us gain an increased understanding of paraphrase strategies used by native and nonnative English speakers and how these strategies might affect test takers’ essay scores. Toward that end, this study aims to examine and analyze the paraphrase and the types of linguistic modifications used in paraphrase in test-taker responses and differences that may exist between native and nonnative English speakers. We are also interested in how these factors might influence final essay score. Outcomes discussed in this report can be used to inform the development of new e-rater® scoring engine features that capture information related to paraphrase, specifically in nonnative speaker responses to the TOEFL® exam integrated writing task.

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