Artificial Intelligence to Grade Student Essays

edxEdX, a non profit founded by Harvard and MIT, has recently introduced a software that will actually grade student’s essays instantly and provide feedback. Automation in the educational world is not a new concept, standardized testing has been around for quite some time, almost always using machine scoring. However, EdX’s software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to accomplish this task on written essays in attempt to offer students a better learning experience through instant feedback, and freeing up time for professors to focus on other things.

Of course, the growing number of those who are against this type of practice is large and outspoken. The group known as “Professionals Against Machine Scoring of Student Essays in High Stakes Assessment has collected early 2,000 signatures, including some from luminaries like Noam Chomsky. The opposition to this technology is quite understandable. The testing required to ensure that it is accurately grading essay would have to be broad and in depth. “One longtime critic, Les Perlman, has drawn national attention several times for putting together nonsense essays that have fooled the software grading programs into giving high marks” In my opinion if this can be achieved then this software is not ready to be released.

What do you think about this concept and how would you go about testing it?

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One Response to “Artificial Intelligence to Grade Student Essays”

  1. Jeanne Laurel said:

    The holy grail for many years. Should be run thru extensive cross checking against human graders. Also–use as supplement, not instead of human reader. — Chair of English Dept, been teaching 30 some odd years.

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