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Can Computers Grade Essays? (No teacher needed.)

Can computers grade essays?

Can computers grade essays?

Students: Suppose you spend weeks researching and writing a term paper — only to have it “read” by a computer and instantly graded by a software program. Your teacher never even sees it.

That may be the scenario of the future, according to this New York Times article.

Can software really replace a human instructor? Many educators say “no.” One group, Professionals Against Machine Scoring of Student Essays in High-Stakes Assessment, launched a petition a few weeks ago. The petition calls for schools and colleges to stop using computer scoring of student essays.

“Let’s face the realities of automatic essay scoring,” the group’s statement says on the petition’s home page. “Computers cannot ‘read.’ They cannot measure the essentials of effective written communication: accuracy, reasoning, adequacy of evidence, good sense, ethical stance, convincing argument, meaningful organization, clarity, and veracity, among others.”

I agree. It seems to me that plenty of thought goes into producing an important essay or report. It deserves to be read with the same amount of thought and consideration. An essay is not a math problem or a multiple-choice quiz. There is no one “right” answer. A human professor can read into the nuances, admire clever phrasing or points well made and supported, and realize when a point is not supported. I don’t see how a computer can do that.

What do you think?

And if you need help crafting an essay or paper, I can help.

by Maryann Hammers — your solution for all writing and editing needs

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This entry was posted on April 5, 2013 by in essays, term papers, words, writing and tagged , , , , .
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