ReCEval: Evaluating Reasoning Chains via Correctness and Informativeness.


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Multi-step reasoning ability is fundamental to many natural language tasks, yet it is unclear what constitutes a good reasoning chain and how to evaluate them. Most existing methods focus solely on whether the reasoning chain leads to the correct conclusion, but this answer-oriented view may confound the quality of reasoning with other spurious shortcuts to predict the answer. To bridge this gap, we evaluate reasoning chains by viewing them as informal proofs that derive the final answer. Specifically, we propose ReCEval (Reasoning Chain Evaluation), a framework that evaluates reasoning chains through two key properties: (1) correctness, i.e., each step makes a valid inference based on the information contained within the step, preceding steps, and input context, and (2) informativeness, i.e., each step provides new information that is helpful towards deriving the generated answer. We implement ReCEval using natural language inference models and information-theoretic measures. On multiple datasets, ReCEval is highly effective in identifying different types of errors, resulting in notable improvements compared to prior methods. We demonstrate that our informativeness metric captures the expected flow of information in high-quality reasoning chains and we also analyze the impact of previous steps on evaluating correctness and informativeness. Finally, we show that scoring reasoning chains based on ReCEval can improve downstream performance of reasoning tasks. Our code is publicly available at:
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