Are Computers Better at Grading Essays than Humans?

Since 2009, the State of Utah has been using computers to grade the essay section on student-assessment exams.  Testing companies are also now implementing essay-evaluating software to grade graduate-school admissions exams, such as the GRE or the GMAT.  This brings up an important question – do robots make better graders of essays than humans?

To help answer this question, Mark Shermis, a researcher in the field of education at the University of Akron, ran 22,029 standardized high school essays through software from 8 companies, comparing content, organization and style.  The result showed that the essays graded by the computers were indistinguishable from those graded by humans, but the computers were able to finish the task at a much faster speed.  This may mean that in the near future teachers will be relying solely on computers to grade students’ work.

National Public Radio Article on Computer Grading

DISCOVER Article on Computer Grading

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