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Automated Essay Grading Software Stirs Debate
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Michael Fitzgerald
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Michael Fitzgerald,
User Rank: Moderator
8/6/2013 | 6:34:14 PM
re: Automated Essay Grading Software Stirs Debate
Thanks, Frank. how widely used are/were these tools? I would love to see them adopted broadly.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
8/5/2013 | 11:51:27 PM
re: Automated Essay Grading Software Stirs Debate
Thanks for sharing the history, Frank
FrankCatalano
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FrankCatalano,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 11:08:52 PM
re: Automated Essay Grading Software Stirs Debate
"They cannot get such feedback now." Not entirely true, as the earlier aside "which has been around for a while" implies. While this may be new to a MOOC or higher ed audience, automated essay graders have been both around and actively in use in K-12 for years. The usual use is not high-stakes scoring, but providing opportunities for students to practice writing and summarizing skills with teacher-directed settings for what kind of feedback to provide, and at what threshold.

For example, I worked on Pearson Knowledge Technologies' launch of WriteToLearn in 2006, based on an underlying engine from what had been called Knowledge Analysis Technologies before it was acquired by Pearson. Active competitors at the time were ETS and Vantage Learning, among others, with their own engines. Many, if not all, of these products are still on the market and in use. (I haven't had a direct affiliation with any of these products for years, in the interest of full disclosure.)

This isn't to say the underlying tech can't be improved, as it has been regularly since then, and perhaps by its efforts EdX can spur continued improvement.
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 8:47:14 PM
re: Automated Essay Grading Software Stirs Debate
I think there is definitely a benefit to helping students learn the basics of grammar. A teacher can then focus on more important ideas -- themes, writing style, whether or not the paper flows, and other creative commentary. I don't, however, think one can grade creativity without a human element involved.
JulieP840
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JulieP840,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 8:38:21 PM
re: Automated Essay Grading Software Stirs Debate
Education is like other sectors in that technology can -- and should -- be used to leverage what people do best. When technology like this is done well, it can be a boon to teachers and students, not a job-killer (or nap-inducer). Technology like this also has the potential to help teachers target the students who need help, the areas of content/skill that most need addressing across the group/class, etc.
Michael Fitzgerald
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Michael Fitzgerald,
User Rank: Moderator
8/5/2013 | 6:51:26 PM
re: Automated Essay Grading Software Stirs Debate
i'd also like to hear from teachers about how hard it will be to add such tools to class, when the tools are ready.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
8/5/2013 | 4:34:19 PM
re: Automated Essay Grading Software Stirs Debate
If you have tested or used software like this, we would love to get your comments here. - David F. Carr, InformationWeek Education
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