Automatic Detection of Off-Topic Spoken Responses Using Very Deep Convolutional Neural Networks

Xinhao Wang, Su-Youn Yoon, Keelan Evanini, Klaus Zechner, Yao Qian


Test takers in high-stakes speaking assessments may try to inflate their scores by providing a response to a question that they are more familiar with instead of the question presented in the test; such a response is referred to as an off-topic spoken response. The presence of these responses can make it difficult to accurately evaluate a test taker’s speaking proficiency, and thus may reduce the validity of assessment scores. This study aims to address this problem by building an automatic system to detect off-topic spoken responses which can inform the downstream automated scoring pipeline. We propose an innovative method to interpret the comparison between a test response and the question used to elicit it as a similarity grid, and then apply very deep convolutional neural networks to determine different degrees of topic relevance. In this study, Inception networks were applied to this task, and the experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Our system achieves an F1-score of 92.8% on the class of off-topic responses, which significantly outperforms a baseline system using a range of word embedding-based similarity metrics (F1-score = 85.5%).


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1848

Cite as: Wang, X., Yoon, S., Evanini, K., Zechner, K., Qian, Y. (2019) Automatic Detection of Off-Topic Spoken Responses Using Very Deep Convolutional Neural Networks. Proc. Interspeech 2019, 4200-4204, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1848.


@inproceedings{Wang2019,
  author={Xinhao Wang and Su-Youn Yoon and Keelan Evanini and Klaus Zechner and Yao Qian},
  title={{Automatic Detection of Off-Topic Spoken Responses Using Very Deep Convolutional Neural Networks}},
  year=2019,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2019},
  pages={4200--4204},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1848},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1848}
}