Prompted to write on workplace injuries, Jones instead input a letter of recommendation, substituting "risk of personal injury" for the student's name."My thinking was, ' This is ridiculous, I'm sure it will get a zero,'" he said. A second time around, Jones scattered "chimpanzee" throughout the essay, guessing unusual words would yield him a higher score. In Brent's class, sophomore Brady Didion submitted drafts of his papers numerous times to ensure his final version included everything the computer wanted.
"What you're learning, really, is how to cheat the program," he said.
Educational Testing Service sells Criterion, which includes the "e-Rater" used to score GMAT essays.
Vantage Learning has Intelli Metric, Maplesoft sells Maple T.
Some 80 percent of Indiana's 60,000 11th-graders have their English assessment scored by computer, and another 10,000 ninth-graders are taking part in a trial in which computers assess some routine written assignments.
Stan Jones, Indiana's commissioner of higher education, said the technology isn't as good as a teacher but cuts turnaround time, trims costs and allows overworked teachers to give written assignments without fearing the workload."This (allows) them to require more essays, more writing, and have it graded very painlessly," Jones said. "It's fairly consistent," said Keith Kelly, 21, of Cleveland, one of Brent's sociology students.A., and numerous other programs are used on a smaller scale.Most companies are private and offer no sales figures, but educators say use of such technology is growing.They can reduce the cost of grading, and they also eliminate the inconsistencies that are found amongst human graders when marking the same essay.The next development in essay processing technology is automated essay writing.(The essay section just added to the Scholastic Aptitude Test for the college-bound is graded by humans).Though Brent and his two teaching assistants still handle final papers – and grades – students are encouraged to use SAGrader for a better shot at an "A.""I don't think we want to replace humans," Brent said.Like other essay-grading software, it analyzes sentences and paragraphs, looking for keywords as well as the relationship between terms.Other programs compare a student's paper with a database of already-scored papers, seeking to assign it a score based on what other similar-quality assignments have received.However it can be time consuming and costly for humans to grade student work.Technology has been available to assist teachers in grading objective tests for several decades; however these true-false and multiple choice tests do not capture the deeper aspects of student learning.