Writing Expert: Computer Scoring by PARCC-Pearson Tests Is Fundamentally Flawed

Diane Ravitch's blog

Les Perelman, who was in charge of MIT’sWriting Across the Curriculum program, wrote this opinion piece for the Boston Globe.

Perelman said that student essays written for the PARCC test, created by Pearson, would be scored by computers. Unfortunately, the computer scorers are unable to detect the meaning of language. Instead, they rely on length, grammar, and other measurable elements.

So, he says, the computer would give a high score to this gibberish:

““According to professor of theory of knowledge Leon Trotsky, privacy is the most fundamental report of humankind. Radiation on advocates to an orator transmits gamma rays of parsimony to implode.’’

A human scorer would recognize this as incoherent babble but the computer would be impressed.

He concludes:

“Education, like medicine, is too important a public resource to allow corporate secrecy. If PARCC does not insist that Pearson allow researchers access to its robo-grader and release all raw…

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