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So much for open-ended questions and divergent thinking.But the biggest problem with robo-grading continues to be the algorithm's inability to distinguish between quality and drivel.
You'll have to tell the program which judgment to follow, and the moment you do, you've embedded one of your personal biases into the machine.
Says the senior research scientist at ETS, " In other words, rather than trying to make software recognize good writing, we'll simply redefine good writing as what the software can recognize. In states like Utah and Ohio where it is being used, we can expect to see more bad writing and more time wasted on teaching students how to satisfy a computer algorithm rather than develop their own writing skills and voice to become better communicators with other members of the human race.
We'll continue to see year after year companies putting out PR to claim they've totally got this under control, but until they can put out a working product, it's all just a dream."For some education reformers, the dream is to have the computer grade everything.
More recently, the former MIT professor teamed up with some students to create BABEL, a computer program that can create gibberish essays that other computer programs score as outstanding pieces of writing.
Robo-scoring fans like to reference a 2012 study by Mark Shermis (University of Akron) and Ben Hamner, in which computers and human scorers produced near-identical scores for a batch of essays. The full dismantling is here, but the basic problem, beyond methodology itself, was that the testing industry has its own definition of what the task of writing should be, which more about a performance task than an actual expression of thought and meaning.