A direct comparison between human graders and software designed to score student essays achieved virtually identical levels of accuracy, with the software in some cases proving to be more reliable, a groundbreaking study has found.
Automated scoring of essays holds the promise of lowering the cost and time of having students write so they can do it more often.
At a time when the U.S. Department of Education is funding states to design and develop new forms of high-stakes testing, the study introduces important data. Many states are limited to multiple-choice formats, because more sophisticated measures of academic performance cost too much to grade and take too long to process. Forty-five states are already actively overhauling testing standards, and many are considering the use of machine scoring systems.