Computer Grading of Essays

ACADEME BLOG

Diane Ravitch’s Blog includes two items of considerable interest on the topic of the computer grading of essays.

In the first post, titled simply “Why Computers Should Not Grade Student Essays” [http://dianeravitch.net/2014/09/03/why-computers-should-not-grade-student-essays-2/], Ravitch chronicles the efforts to create software that can generate essays that the grading software will evaluate as excellent. Although the computer-generated essays are structurally sound and grammatically correct, they are actually largely gibberish, and the purpose in creating them is to emphasize all of the elements of effective writing that cannot be reduced to patterns and rules. A computer program cannot distinguish nuances in tone nor can it recognize the subtle ways in which support for an argument can be turned so that rather pedestrian details become charged with meaning.

In the second post, titled “Gates Funds Programs to Grade Student Essays” [http://dianeravitch.net/2014/09/03/gates-funding-machines-to-score-writing/], Ravitch provides overviews of four examples of how funding from…

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