Is computerized essay grading groundbreaking?

the study’s major finding states only that “the results demonstrated that overall, automated essay scoring was capable of producing scores similar to human scores for extended-response writing items.” A paragraph on p. 21 reiterates the same thing: “By and large, the scoring engines did a good [job] of replicating the mean scores for all of the data sets.” In other words, all this hoopla about a study Tom Vander Ark calls “groundbreaking” is based on a final conclusion saying only that automated essay scoring engines are able to spew out a number that “by and large” might be “similar” to what a bored, over-worked, under-paid, possibly-underqualified, temporarily-employed human scorer skimming through an essay every two minutes might also spew out. I ask you, has there ever been a lower bar?

Todd Farley via

4 Responses to “Is computerized essay grading groundbreaking?”

  1. I laughed out loud.

    I wonder what is preventing a student from typing “I like ice cream.” two hundred times to get a perfectly scored, eight hundred word essay.

  2. If you can automate the grading, the automation of the creation is not far behind.

  3. And how safe would we all feel if we allowed a computerized sensor and GPS unit evaluate the success of students in driver’s education courses?

  4. My name is Amanda Rice and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange’s EDM310. I think this is sad that students would get the same test scores from a grading system as they would get from a human who didn’t really care. Why would students even want to try? I read the link and it said that gifted students who write more creatively and think outside of the box were penalized. This makes me sad. I want to be a teacher, one that encourages students and not teach them to do just enough to get by.

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