About Me

I am the Director of Research for the Natural Language Processing (NLP) Group in the Research Division at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey. My broad interest and research passion is how technology rooted in NLP can address global literacyMy background is in computational linguistics with a focus on education technology for writing, reading, and teacher professional development. In terms of writing, I led the NLP teams that invented e-rater®, an automated essay scoring system, and Criterion® -- ETS’ online essay evaluation product, and the Writing Mentor application -- a Google Docs Add-on. With regard to reading and teacher professional development, I have led the development of the Language MuseTM Activity Palette --  an NLP-driven classroom activity-generation tool for teachers. The "Palette" automatically generates customizable language activities for classroom texts intended to support students' content comprehension. My most recent work focusses more broadly on educational data mining to explore NLP-based writing analytics for applications available to all learners. This work is motivated by my interest to make a social contribution through research that yields increased knowledge about how to develop meaningful feedback to directly help learners,  and produces analytics to support a deeper understanding of student writing, stakeholder (educators and policy-makers) understanding of writing achievement, and relationships between writing achievement and success predictors.   Now entering its 13th year, I co-founded (with Claudia Leacock), and co-organize a yearly workshop: Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA) (with Joel Tetreault,  Ekaterina KochmarClaudia Leacock & Helen Yannakoudakis). BEA is typically co-located with an ACL venue.  Sign up for the BEA newsletter here.

jill.burstein [at] gmail.com
jburstein [at] ets.org