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Some 80 percent of Indiana's 60,000 11th-graders have their English assessment scored by computer, and another 10,000 ninth-graders are taking part in a trial in which computers assess some routine written assignments.Stan Jones, Indiana's commissioner of higher education, said the technology isn't as good as a teacher but cuts turnaround time, trims costs and allows overworked teachers to give written assignments without fearing the workload."This (allows) them to require more essays, more writing, and have it graded very painlessly," Jones said. "It's fairly consistent," said Keith Kelly, 21, of Cleveland, one of Brent's sociology students.Essay writing can be used to assess this deeper learning, which includes a student’s ability to synthesize his/her thoughts, and argue for propositions.
(The essay section just added to the Scholastic Aptitude Test for the college-bound is graded by humans).
Though Brent and his two teaching assistants still handle final papers – and grades – students are encouraged to use SAGrader for a better shot at an "A.""I don't think we want to replace humans," Brent said.
Students in Brent's Introduction to Sociology course at the University of Missouri-Columbia now submit drafts through the SAGrader software he designed.
It counts the number of points he wanted his students to include and analyzes how well concepts are explained. It used to be the students who looked for shortcuts, shopping for papers online or pilfering parts of an assignment with a simple Google search.
They can reduce the cost of grading, and they also eliminate the inconsistencies that are found amongst human graders when marking the same essay.
The next development in essay processing technology is automated essay writing.Prompted to write on workplace injuries, Jones instead input a letter of recommendation, substituting "risk of personal injury" for the student's name."My thinking was, ' This is ridiculous, I'm sure it will get a zero,'" he said. A second time around, Jones scattered "chimpanzee" throughout the essay, guessing unusual words would yield him a higher score. In Brent's class, sophomore Brady Didion submitted drafts of his papers numerous times to ensure his final version included everything the computer wanted."What you're learning, really, is how to cheat the program," he said.However it can be time consuming and costly for humans to grade student work.Technology has been available to assist teachers in grading objective tests for several decades; however these true-false and multiple choice tests do not capture the deeper aspects of student learning.COLUMBIA, Missouri – Student essays always seem to be riddled with the same sorts of flaws.So sociology professor Ed Brent decided to hand the work off – to a computer.Educational Testing Service sells Criterion, which includes the "e-Rater" used to score GMAT essays.Vantage Learning has Intelli Metric, Maplesoft sells Maple T.An understanding of how these systems would work, and the characteristics of the generated essays, is thus needed in order to detect them.This paper describes the components we believe an automated essay generator would need to have, and the results of building a prototype of the first of these components, the Gatherer.