New Scientist discusses the future of the academy, in which teachers have been replaced by essay-grading robots:
Grading software from nine manufacturers, which together cover 97 per cent of the US market, was used in the test. To calibrate the systems, each looked for correlations between factors associated with good essays, such as strong vocabulary and good grammar, and the human-assigned score. After training, the software marked another set of essays without access to the human-given grades.
The essay marks handed out by the machines were statistically identical to those from the human graders, says [Jaison Morgan of The Common Pool consultancy]. “The result blew away everyone’s expectations,” he says. The work was released this week at the conference of the National Council on Measurement in Education in Vancouver, Canada.
It is an important finding, says Morgan, because teachers often do not assign essays because they do not have the time to mark them. He says it should encourage educators to use automated systems more widely.