Robo Grading: Another Reason to Send Your Kids to Private School
Since 2009, Utah has used computers to grade essays on a state student-assessment test. And testing companies use essay-evaluating software as one of two graders on graduate-school admissions exams such as the GRE.
But how well, really, can a computer grade an essay? To find out, Mark Shermis, an education researcher at the University of Akron, ran 22,029 standardized middle- and high-school essays through software from eight companies (plus one open-source algorithm).
The programs, which generally track content, organization and style, generated results indistinguishable from those of humans—just much faster. With that kind of efficiency, robot graders could mean more homework for students everywhere.
If AI grades papers similarly to human teachers, it’s hard to imagine that cash-strapped public schools won’t adopt robo-grading en masse.
What’s missing in these kinds of studies is the reality that a human teacher reads and grades an essay and then returns to the classroom and works with the student to improve, based on what she saw in the paper she graded.
Unfortunately, the public school of the future is likely to be rows and rows of students sitting in front of monitors, working on “customized” lesson plans, generated and evaluated by computers, with one or more adult proctors maintaining discipline.
This means, in wealthy communities there will be more, and better trained human teachers in smaller classrooms using newer technology. Conversely in poorer communities there will be fewer teachers - glorified corrections officers - working in huge rooms full of old, poorly maintained computers with out-of-date software.
Only kids whose parents can afford to send them to private school will get real teaching and real human interaction during the school day.
(via Robo-Grading Programs Judge Student Essays Better Than Humans Do | Popular Science)