from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Technology aimed at education could really benefit an incredible number of students by making classes and learning (potentially) a more pleasant and efficient experience. Computers can’t replace a really good human teacher, but they can make it easier for good human teachers to reach a vast audience of students. Massively open online courses (MOOCs) promise to change how education works, but there are some technological tools that might be missing. It’s pretty straightforward to test students on math problems in an automated way, but grading essays is a much more daunting problem. There have been some calls for automated grading software from various organizations (like the Hewlett Foundation). But at the same time, the National Council of Teachers of English argues that computers simply can’t grade essays. Here are just a few more links on this debate over the use of algorithms over English professors (or grad students).
- EdX, the non-profit started by Harvard and MIT, is releasing some software to automagically grade human-written essays. Some see this software as just another tool for educators to use for more immediate feedback to students, while others are worried that these algorithms will be used incorrectly and lead to disastrous educational policies and outcomes. [url]
- There are studies that show algorithms are statistically comparable to humans when it comes to ranking essays on a 5 point scale. There are things machines can do better and things humans do better — just make sure you know the differences and automated essay grading can be done productively in the right context. [url]
- Automated essay readers can grade 16,000 essays in 20 seconds. The Educational Testing Service is testing out automation, so students may soon be facing algorithmic grading for their college entrance exams. [url]
- Grading a few sentences can be harder than it might look. Professional (human) teachers are obviously better at interpreting the insights and ideas behind the words a student writes, but computers scale much better and never tire of horrible spelling mistakes or misplaced modifiers…. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.