Politicians Are Poody Heads

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Leonie Haimson: Can You Trust Computers to Grade Student Writing?

on May 8, 2016

Computerized scoring. Sure, that’s the ticket. Not.
It’s one thing for computers to score “fill in the bubble” multiple choice tests. But essays?
I think not. The program’s seem to be “counting words” and scoring high for excess verbiage.
Somehow, I’m betting that Ernest Hemingway would not have done well on one of these computer-scored tests.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Leonie Haimson, parent activist, worked with a group of other concerned critics to review the explosion of computer-massessment, in particular, the scoring of writing.

“On April 5, 2016, the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, Parents Across America, Network for Public Education, FairTest and many state and local parent groups sent a letter to the Education Commissioners in the states using the federally funded Common Core tests known as PARCC and SBAC, asking about the scoring of these exams.

“We asked them the following questions:

“What percentage of the ELA exams in our state are being scored by machines this year, and how many of these exams will then be re-scored by a human being?

“What happens if the machine score varies significantly from the score given by the human being?
“Will parents have the opportunity to learn whether their children’s ELA exam was scored by a human being or…

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2 responses to “Leonie Haimson: Can You Trust Computers to Grade Student Writing?

  1. PiedType says:

    I know it takes more precious time and personal attention for our educators to read and assess student writing. But that writing may well be the best way to assess a student’s thought processes, grasp of the language, ability to express and logically support ideas, etc.

    At the rate we’re going, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next “innovation” in education is computers (robots?) replacing human teachers in the classroom. It would ensure the uniformity in education that everyone seems to think we need. But why bother with classrooms at all? Why maintain physical school buildings? Just put our entire educational system online and let the kids learn from home. Who needs schools?

    • Zorba says:

      Oh, they’re already trying to implement more and more computers replacing teachers in the K-12 public classrooms, as well as “online learning,” and I don’t mean at the college level (it certainly happens there, but these are adults who can choose to go online or not).
      If you have a chance, you should read some of the articles on Diane Ravitch’s blog. https://dianeravitch.net
      What is happening in our public schools should alarm everyone.

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