The Hewlett sponsored Automated Student Assessment Prize (ASAP) recently concluded a private vendor demonstration of automated essay scoring for the benefit of the two RttT-funded state testing consortia (PARCC & SBAC).  Nine vendors scored more than 5000 essays on February 7–scoring was almost instantaneous and done with a high degree of accuracy.  Dr. Mark Shermis will deliver a multi-dimensional analysis of the demonstration to the consortia next month.

ASAP also includes an open competition hosted on Kaggle.com–the same folks that helped NASA map dark matter, helped Allstate predict car accidents, and improved who will go to the hospital next year for the Heritage Health Prize.

Business Insider reported on the amazing talent mobilized by the $100,000 prize purse, “The current leader in the competition is 28-year-old Martin O’Leary, a research fellow in glaciology at the University of Michigan”.  The side lighting geologist also made important contributions to NASA’s effort to map dark matter.

Kaggle CEO Anthony Goldbloom told Business Insider, “Many of our members are very smart people, but are not stimulated at work. Rather than doing a Sudoku puzzle, they get to solve very valuable problems. What’s interesting is the diversity of the people who are performing well. You’d expect people with a deep understanding in education to do well, but the people are totally random”.

For example:

Vik Paruchuri is a financial developer at VCP Management. He’s in second place. Marchin Pionnier is a 32-year-old programmer from Poland. He’s third right now. Momchil Georgiev is fourth, and he’s a programmer for the National Weather Service. There’s a team that is currently in fifth place. They competed in previous Kaggle competitions separately, but decided to band together for this one. The five-person team is diverse, ranging from an engineer for AT&T to a bioinformatics Ph.D. at Rutgers University to a consultant at Deloitte.

“The competition ends April 23, 2012. The top three members will get a piece of the $100,000 prize. Right now, there are only 25 teams, so the odds are good!”

Open Education Solutions and The Common Pool designed and manage ASAP.  For more, read:

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