Dumbest Idea of the Month: Massachusetts May Have Computers Grade Student Essays

I’m not sure….anything that little dan from Texas has to say would be a close second.

Diane Ravitch's blog

There are two ways to go wrong in scoring student essays. One is to have them graded by computers. The other is to have them graded by the low-wage slackers hired by testing corporations.

There is only one way to go right in scoring student essays. That is to have them read by teachers in the building or district where the student is enrolled.

Massachusetts is pondering turning over the grading of student essays to computers. Les Perelman, a retired professor of writing at MIT, has demonstrated how dumb the computers are when it comes to understanding what students have written. The computers like long sentences; big words; and long essays. But the computers have a serious defect: They can’t tell truth from falsehood. He told a New York Times writer, Michael Winerip, that a computer would not care if a student wrote that the War of 1812 began in…

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