Intelligent Essay Assessor Software

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Educational Testing Service sells Criterion, which includes the "e-Rater" used to score GMAT essays.

Educational Testing Service sells Criterion, which includes the "e-Rater" used to score GMAT essays.

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"But we want to do the fun stuff, the challenging stuff.

And the computer can do the tedious but necessary stuff."Developed with National Science Foundation funding, SAGrader is so far used only in Brent's classroom.

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.

Students in Brent's Introduction to Sociology course at the University of Missouri-Columbia now submit drafts through the SAGrader software he designed.

It counts the number of points he wanted his students to include and analyzes how well concepts are explained. It used to be the students who looked for shortcuts, shopping for papers online or pilfering parts of an assignment with a simple Google search.

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.

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