Computer essay graders put students at disadvantage
Students anxiously awaiting results on papers during finals week may be wishing professors could grade them faster, yet a new technological development may provide the perfect example of be careful what you wish for.
Computer essay graders are now more efficient, accurate and cost-effective than humans, setting U.S. education down a dangerous course.
A recent study by the University of Akron concluded that computer-generated essay scores are just as, or in some cases, more reliable and much faster than human graders.
E-Rater, an automated reader created by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), can grade 16,000 essays in 20 seconds, according to the New York Times. Pearson Education Inc. says human readers working at maximum capacity can score 30 essays in an hour.
The robot-graders save time, and therefore save teachers and standardized testing companies money, but they cant verify facts or fully comprehend the meaning behind the words they scan for structural and technical difficulties.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Les Perelman found that the e-Rater does not consider content, but rather length, sentence structure and word usage. An e-Rater cant tell if information is factual and doesnt care if you say the War of 1812 started in 1945, he told the Times.
With Florida teachers salaries tied to their students test scores, thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011, those desperate for a pay raise can easily coach students to outsmart the system instead of worrying about actual content, reducing the value of a students education.
University students may also rightly be concerned at the idea of a test essay dictating their college prospects and, thus, their futures, only getting 1/800 of a second of thought.
If e-Raters were used in grading college papers, even larger questions would be raised about a college educations worth as the cost of tuition increases every year.
According to the Times, the e-Rater has already been used to grade essays for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). While e-Rater creators said GRE samples are also read by humans, the website for the Graduate Management Admission Test, gmat-pacer.com, states that human graders are aware that there is a computer double-checking their work, and they are more likely to follow the e-Raters strict grading parameters.
The site urges students to be particularly concerned with structure, use buzzwords and be a conformist the e-Rater is not programmed to appreciate individuality, humor or poetic inspiration.
Though such programs can help identify technical issues in students writing, they can in no way replace the careful thought and logic that can only come from an intelligent human being. Individual thought is a gift that educators shouldnt discard so quickly.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
- Kheireddine and Kent officially sworn into office
- Accusations swirl as decision on student body president nears
- USF partners with company of Lightning owner Jeff Vinik
- Running back Darius Tice gets second chance
- Three predictions for USF football
- Bay Area joins international March for Science
- EDITORIAL: When can we expect a president?
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Non-Profit Venture Fund Seeks to Support The American Dream
- Sustained Happiness Starts from Within
- Reverse Mortgages Benefit Younger Seniors
- Sunshine State Shining New Light on the Banking Industry
- Honoring Moms : How 3 Inspiring Women are Changing the World
- Look Before You Buy: Virtual Reality Comes to Home...
- Olympic Power Couple Teams Up to Fight Blood Cancers with...
- Two Meals in One: Arborio Rice, Perfect for Risotto &...
- New Nighttime Grind Guard Relieves Jaw Pain
- Why Yoga Relieves Stress, Improves Health and Balances...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Comic Book and Sports Card Show
- A Harvard Dean's 5 Essential Questions for Success
- COLLEGE STUDENTS: DO THESE THREE THINGS THIS SUMMER TO BOOST YOUR FINANCES
- Annual PepsiCo/SWE Student Engineering Challenge Gives Undergraduates Real-World Engineering Practicum
- Dallas Regional Chamber Targets National Millennial Workforce with New Talent Attraction Campaign, Say Yes to Dallas