Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Computer grading of student writing

Click on the title to see a USA Today article on software used to automate grading of student papers. Then consider what a colleague of mine has to say about the crappiness of the grammar checker in Microsoft Word. A choice quote from the USA Today article:

When the University of California at Davis tried out such technology a couple years back, lecturer Andy Jones decided to try to trick e-Rater.

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.

He got a five out of six.

A second time around, Jones scattered "chimpanzee" throughout the essay, guessing unusual words would yield him a higher score.

He got a six.

Maybe this is what the WMCSCI people use to referee papers.

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