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Large Language Models (LLMs) in Scoring Tasks and Decision Making

Large language models (LLMs) open new possibilities for automating complex scoring tasks and enhancing decision-making processes.

From essay evaluation to credit risk assessment, LLMs are demonstrating remarkable capabilities in understanding and analyzing textual data.

However, to fully harness the potential of LLMs, it is crucial to explore how they can be combined with other forms of AI, such as rule-based systems and predictive models, and how they can contribute to explainable scoring and decision making.

In this article, we explore the methods employed by three recent studies that showcase the power of LLMs in scoring tasks.

We examine how these methods can be integrated with other AI approaches and discuss the implications for improving the interpretability and transparency of scoring systems.

Current Pain Points of Human Scoring

Historically, scoring tasks, such as essay grading or credit risk assessment, have relied heavily on human judgment. While human expertise is invaluable, it also comes with several inherent limitations and challenges:

  • Subjectivity and Inconsistency: Human scorers may have different interpretations, biases, and personal standards, leading to inconsistencies in scoring across individuals and over time. This subjectivity can result in unfair or unreliable evaluations.
  • Time and Resource Intensive: Manual scoring processes are often time-consuming and labor-intensive, requiring significant human resources. This can limit the scalability and efficiency of scoring tasks, particularly in large-scale assessments or high-volume decision-making scenarios.
  • Fatigue and Cognitive Limitations: Human scorers are prone to fatigue and cognitive limitations, especially when dealing with a high volume of evaluations. As mental exhaustion sets in, the quality and consistency of scoring may deteriorate, introducing errors and variability.
  • Lack of Granular Feedback: Human scorers may struggle to provide detailed, actionable feedback on specific aspects of performance. Generating granular, trait-specific insights can be mentally taxing and time-consuming, limiting the depth and breadth of feedback provided to individuals being evaluated.

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Advantages of AI in Scoring

The integration of AI, particularly LLMs, in scoring tasks offers several compelling advantages that can address the limitations of human scoring:

  • Consistency and Standardization: LLMs can be trained on large datasets and fine-tuned to adhere to predefined scoring criteria and standards. This ensures a high level of consistency in scoring across different inputs and over time, reducing the variability and subjectivity inherent in human evaluations.
  • Efficiency and Scalability: AI-powered scoring systems can process vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently, enabling the evaluation of a large number of inputs in a fraction of the time required by human scorers. This scalability is particularly valuable in scenarios where high-volume scoring is necessary, such as in massive open online courses (MOOCs) or large-scale financial assessments.
  • Objectivity and Fairness: LLMs can be designed to minimize biases and ensure a more objective evaluation process. By relying on data-driven models and well-defined scoring criteria, AI systems can reduce the influence of human subjectivity and personal biases, promoting fairness and equal treatment across all individuals being evaluated.
  • Granular and Actionable Feedback: LLMs have the capacity to provide detailed, trait-specific feedback on various aspects of performance. By leveraging their ability to analyze and interpret textual data at a granular level, AI systems can generate targeted insights and recommendations, enabling individuals to understand their strengths and areas for improvement more effectively.

Grounding and Calibrating Human Decisions

While AI-powered scoring offers numerous benefits, it is essential to recognize the importance of human oversight and collaboration. LLMs can serve as a powerful tool to ground and calibrate human decision-making processes, reducing noise and inconsistencies:

  • Augmenting Human Judgment: LLMs can provide initial scores, recommendations, and insights to human experts, serving as a starting point for their evaluation. Human scorers can then review and validate the AI-generated scores, making adjustments based on their domain knowledge and contextual understanding. This human-AI collaboration can lead to more accurate and well-rounded evaluations.
  • Establishing Benchmarks and Norms: AI scoring systems can help establish benchmarks and norms based on large-scale data analysis. By processing vast amounts of historical data, LLMs can identify patterns, trends, and standards that can serve as reference points for human decision-makers. This can help calibrate human judgments and ensure greater consistency across evaluations.
  • Identifying Outliers and Anomalies: LLMs can flag unusual or anomalous inputs that deviate from established patterns or norms. By drawing attention to these outliers, AI systems can prompt human experts to carefully review and investigate these cases, reducing the risk of overlooking important exceptions or making erroneous decisions.
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: AI scoring systems can learn and adapt over time based on feedback from human experts. As human scorers provide their insights and make adjustments to AI-generated scores, the models can be fine-tuned and improved iteratively. This continuous learning process allows the AI system to better align with human expertise and evolving domain knowledge.

Integrating Different Forms of AI

To fully harness the potential of LLMs in scoring and decision-making, it is crucial to explore how they can be combined with other forms of AI, such as rule-based systems and predictive models:

  • Rule-Based Systems: LLMs can be integrated with rule-based systems that encapsulate domain-specific knowledge and guidelines. These rules can be used to constrain the scoring process, ensuring compliance with established standards and regulations. For example, in credit risk assessment, rule-based systems can enforce certain eligibility criteria or risk thresholds, while LLMs can handle the qualitative analysis of unstructured data.
  • Predictive Models: LLMs can be combined with predictive models that leverage structured data and statistical techniques. While LLMs excel at processing and interpreting textual information, predictive models can handle numerical and categorical data effectively. By combining the outputs of LLMs with predictive models, a more comprehensive and accurate assessment can be achieved. For instance, in essay scoring, LLMs can evaluate the content and coherence of the essay, while predictive models can analyze grammatical features and writing style.
  • Explainable AI: To enhance the interpretability and transparency of scoring systems, LLMs can be designed to generate human-readable explanations and justifications for their scores and recommendations. By providing clear and understandable rationales, LLMs can help build trust and accountability in AI-assisted decision-making processes. This explainability is crucial for domains where decisions have significant consequences, such as in financial lending or educational assessments.

Multi-Trait Specialization for Zero-shot Essay Scoring

Luo et al. [1] propose the Multi-Trait Specialization (MTS) framework for zero-shot essay scoring using LLMs. The MTS approach leverages ChatGPT to decompose writing proficiency into distinct traits, such as organization, coherence, and language use. By generating scoring criteria for each trait and extracting scores through conversational prompts, MTS enables a nuanced evaluation of essays without the need for extensive labeled training data.

The MTS framework highlights the potential for LLMs to provide fine-grained, trait-specific feedback on writing quality. This level of granularity can enhance the explainability of essay scores, as it allows for a clear mapping between the scores and the specific aspects of writing being evaluated. Moreover, the conversational nature of the scoring process in MTS opens up possibilities for integrating LLMs with rule-based systems or expert knowledge.

For example, domain experts could define scoring rubrics or provide examples of high-quality writing for each trait. These rules and examples could be incorporated into the prompts used to guide the LLM’s scoring process. By combining the linguistic understanding of LLMs with expert-defined criteria, the scoring system can produce more accurate and interpretable results.

Furthermore, the trait scores generated by MTS could serve as inputs to predictive models or decision support systems. For instance, trait scores could be weighted and combined based on their importance for a specific writing task or domain. This integration of LLM-based scoring with predictive modeling can enable more nuanced and context-aware assessment of writing quality.

Augmenting Essay Scoring with Large Language Models

Gneiting et al. [2] explore the potential of LLMs to augment human essay graders and elevate the scoring landscape. Their study demonstrates how LLM-generated scores and feedback can improve the accuracy and consistency of both novice and expert graders.

The augmentation approach highlights the potential for LLMs to serve as intelligent assistants in the scoring process. By providing graders with LLM-generated insights and recommendations, the system can help them make more informed and consistent evaluations. This human-AI collaboration can lead to improved scoring quality while still maintaining the interpretability and accountability of human judgment.

Moreover, the LLM-based augmentation can be extended to incorporate rule-based constraints or domain-specific guidelines. For example, the LLM could be fine-tuned on a dataset of essays annotated with expert-defined scores and feedback. This fine-tuning process can align the LLM’s scoring behavior with established grading rubrics or standards.

The augmentation approach also enables explainability through the generation of natural language feedback. The LLM can provide detailed explanations for its scoring decisions, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of an essay across different dimensions. This interpretable feedback can help students understand their performance and guide their improvement efforts.

Generalist Credit Scoring with Large Language Models

Feng et al. [3] introduce the Credit and Risk Assessment Language Model (CALM), a specialized LLM for credit scoring and risk assessment tasks. CALM is built by fine-tuning an existing LLM on a custom instruction dataset, allowing it to handle tabular financial data and generate scores based on table-based and description-based prompts.

The CALM approach showcases the adaptability of LLMs to different data formats and scoring contexts. By fine-tuning on domain-specific instructions and examples, CALM can capture the nuances and complexities of credit and risk assessment. This adaptability enables the integration of LLMs with existing expert systems and predictive models in the

financial domain.

For instance, CALM could be combined with rule-based credit scoring models that encode domain knowledge and regulatory requirements. The LLM’s ability to process and score unstructured data, such as client descriptions or qualitative risk factors, can complement the structured data handled by traditional models. This hybrid approach can lead to more comprehensive and accurate risk assessments.

Moreover, CALM’s scoring process can be made more explainable by generating natural language justifications for its decisions. The LLM can highlight the key factors and characteristics that influenced the credit or risk score, providing interpretable insights for both clients and decision-makers. This explainability is crucial for building trust and accountability in financial assessment systems.

Key Takeaways and Future Directions

The methods employed in the three studies demonstrate the versatility and potential of LLMs for scoring tasks across different domains. From zero-shot essay scoring to credit risk assessment, LLMs can provide accurate, nuanced, and interpretable evaluations by leveraging their linguistic understanding and ability to process unstructured data.

However, to fully realize the potential of LLMs in scoring and decision making, it is essential to explore their integration with other forms of AI, such as rule-based systems and predictive models. By combining the strengths of LLMs with expert knowledge, domain-specific constraints, and structured data, we can create more robust, accurate, and explainable scoring systems.

Moreover, the explainability of LLM-based scoring can be enhanced through the generation of natural language feedback and justifications. By providing clear and interpretable explanations for scoring decisions, LLMs can promote transparency and build trust in automated scoring systems.

Looking forward, further research is needed to investigate the optimal ways of integrating LLMs with other AI approaches and incorporating expert knowledge into the scoring process. Additionally, developing techniques for ensuring the fairness, accountability, and robustness of LLM-based scoring systems will be crucial for their responsible deployment in real-world contexts.


Large language models have demonstrated remarkable capabilities in automating scoring tasks and enhancing decision-making processes. The methods explored in the three studies discussed in this article highlight the potential of LLMs to provide accurate, nuanced, and interpretable evaluations across domains such as essay scoring and credit risk assessment.

By integrating LLMs with rule-based systems, expert knowledge, and predictive models, we can create more comprehensive and explainable scoring systems. The generation of natural language feedback and justifications by LLMs can further enhance the transparency and interpretability of scoring decisions.

As we continue to explore the potential of LLMs in scoring and decision making, it is crucial to prioritize responsible development and deployment practices. By addressing challenges related to fairness, accountability, and robustness, we can harness the power of LLMs to create trustworthy and effective scoring systems that augment human judgment and support better decision making.


[1] Luo, Y., Zhang, X., & Zou, Y. (2023). Prompting Large Language Models for Zero-shot Essay Scoring via Multi-trait Specialization. arXiv preprint arXiv:2404.04941.

[2] Gneiting, F. G., Kobylnik, K., & Wolska, M. (2023). From Automation to Augmentation: Large Language Models Elevating Essay Scoring Landscape. arXiv preprint arXiv:2401.06431.

[3] Feng, C. (2023). Empowering Many, Biasing a Few: Generalist Credit Scoring through Large Language Models. arXiv preprint arXiv:2310.00566.

Top comments (1)

msc2020 profile image

Very good!