by David Safier
How does a high school English teaching veteran like me respond to an article saying computer programs can score student essays as well as teachers?
"The demonstration showed conclusively that automated essay-scoring systems are fast, accurate, and cost-effective," said Tom Vander Ark, the chief executive officer of Open Education Solutions, and a co-director of the study, in a press release.
I guess I could say the study was conducted by Open Education Solutions, which says on its home page it's "a blended learning service provider" (read: more computers, fewer teachers), and its "Team" is heavy on virtual school people.
I guess I could say if your evaluation of essays has nothing to do with content, individual style or creativity, a computer program could probably be designed to evaluate how well students follow the standard five paragraph essay formula.
And I guess I could say, if a computer knows exactly what it takes to write a good essay, why even bother teaching students to write them? Just feed in a thesis and a few facts and let the damn machine crank the essay out.