Center for Technology Enhanced Learning

Grading of Essay Exams by Machines

June 11, 2013
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
5th Floor Computer Lab, Glickman Library
Grading of Essay Exams by Machines by John Broida, PhD

Presentation on the use of computers to automate grading of student essays, in particular the SAGrader tool.

John Broida, PhD

Grading large numbers of essays is time consuming and taxing, so most who teach large classes simply did not do it. However, it is now possible for computers to grade essay exams, making it possible to introduce essays into larger classes. At least two publishing companies are advertising their ability to do what has been, until recently, an exclusively human enterprise. I have been using a system developed by a group of cognitive psychology and computer experts for more than a year, with good results. I will talk briefly about what the system that I use does (looks at grammar, spelling and key terms) and does not do (look for plagiarism) and provide examples of student responses using it. However, most of the presentation will consist of a hands-on demonstration; those in attendance will be encouraged to explore the system for themselves.

Agenda: Brief talk and then we will all get a chance to play with the software. 

  •   John Broida, PhD PresentationProblem: Grading large number of essays...
  •   Solution: SA Grader
  •   How the system works - cognitive mapping
  •   Case Studies...
  •   Other software in the genre
  •   Research
  •   See if it works for you

John Broida, Associate Professor of Psychology and chair of the Psychology Department, is also active in the National Center for Academic Transformation. This group of technological innovators is involved in helping faculty find cost-effective ways to use technology. His interest in using technology and association with NCAT means that he is often approached by people interested in getting their products to innovators. One result has been his exposure to machine grading of essay exams. That is the focus of today's talk/demonstration/activity.

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