Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Grading by the pound

Continuing on the theme of formulaic evaluation of papers is the article linked from this post's title, which describes evaluation of the new SAT essay. Apparently, the motto for this part of the exam must be "bigger is better". Better than getting the facts correct, even. Consider this quote of Les Perelman's (a director of undergrad writing at MIT):

He was stunned by how complete the correlation was between length and score. "I have never found a quantifiable predictor in 25 years of grading that was anywhere near as strong as this one," he said. The shortest essays, typically 100 words, got the lowest grade of one. The longest, about 400 words, got the top grade of six. In between, there was virtually a direct match between length and grade.
One might think that the College Board is using exactly the same software to do their grading as I blogged about here.

Meanwhile, the downward slide of SAT verbal scores continues, noticeable despite the attempt by the College to obscure it by renormalizing the scores in 1995.

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