The software uses algorithms to measure more than 500 text-level variables to yield scores and feedback regarding the following characteristics of writing quality: idea development, organization, style, word choice, sentence structure, and writing conventions such as spelling and grammar.
The idea is to give teachers useful diagnostic information on each writer and give them more time to address problems and assist students with things no machine can comprehend – content, reasoning and, especially, the young writer at work.
The benefits of automation are great, from an administrative point of view.
If computer models provide acceptable evaluations and speedy feedback, they reduce the amount of needed training for human scorers and, of course, the time necessary to do the scoring.
" To find out, he distributed free software subscriptions provided by Measurement Incorporated to teachers of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Mote and Heritage and asked them to try it during the 2014-15 school year.
Teachers don't dismiss the idea of automation, he said.
" Some students were asking that question at Anna P.
Mote Elementary School, where teachers were testing software that automatically evaluates essays for University of Delaware researcher Joshua Wilson.
The software Wilson used is called PEGWriting (which stands for Project Essay Grade Writing), based on work by the late education researcher Ellis B.
Page and sold by Measurement Incorporated, which supports Wilson's research with indirect funding to the University.