Essay-Grading Software Offers Professors a Break

Imagine taking a college exam, and, instead of handing in a blue book and getting a grade from a professor a few weeks later, clicking the “send” button when you are done and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program.

And then, instead of being done with that exam, imagine that the system would immediately let you rewrite the test to try to improve your grade.

EdX, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such a system and will make its automated software available free on the Web to any institution that wants to use it. The software uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers, freeing professors for other tasks.

The new service will bring the educational consortium into a growing conflict over the role of automation in education. Although automated grading systems for multiple-choice and true-false tests are now widespread, the use of artificial intelligence technology to grade essay answers has not yet received widespread endorsement by educators and has many critics. <Read more.>

Via John Markoff, The New York Times.

2 thoughts on “Essay-Grading Software Offers Professors a Break

  1. I am wary of such technology. As one critic pointed out, computers can’t read. As a writing instructor, I would never feel comfortable using it.

  2. I agree. I find that I can learn a lot about my students through their reading. I would hate to lose that connection due to technology.

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