ACL 2022
Conference paper

Fantastic Questions and Where to Find Them: FairytaleQA–An Authentic Dataset for Narrative Comprehension


Question answering (QA) is a fundamental means to facilitate assessment and training of narrative comprehension skills for both machines and young children, yet there is scarcity of high-quality QA datasets carefully designed to serve this purpose. In particular, existing datasets rarely distinguish fine-grained reading skills, such as the understanding of varying narrative elements. Drawing from education domains where QA is also used to train children's narrative comprehension, we introduce FairytaleQA, a dataset focusing on narrative comprehension of kindergarten to eighth grade students. Generated by educational experts based on an evidence-based theoretical framework, FairytaleQA consists of 10,580 explicit and implicit questions derived from 278 children-friendly stories, covering seven types of narrative elements/relations.Our dataset is valuable in two folds: First, with annotations on particular reading skills required for answering each question, FairytaleQA decomposes the otherwise scarce performance into multiple analysis dimensions that are consistent to human-language-learning assessment. We ran existing QA models on our dataset, and confirmed that this annotation helps assess models' fine-grained learning skills. Second, the dataset supports generating questions (QG) in the education domain. Through benchmarking with QG models, we show that the QG model trained on FairytaleQA is capable of asking high-quality and more diverse questions.