Setting the Story Straight on Essay Scoring

There was lots of press on the OpenEd-led Automated Student Assessment Prize (ASAP) this week.  Unfortunately, most of the stories made dumb robot jokes  (no robots here, just predictive algorthms), suggested they would replace teachers (no, just increase the amount of writing American kids do on tests and in classrooms), or gave air time to a prof that thinks Word is better than essay graders (no, it’s a word processor that is couple generations behind the tested engines).
Dr. Shermis did a great job describing the successful demonstration of essay graders (here’s the report) in a radio interview on KPCC, summarized here: Better Tests, More Writing, Deeper Learning.
What we’re really excited about is How Formative Assessment Supports Writing to Learn.  Check out this blog for three classroom examples of feedback tools boost the amount and quality of student writing.
Last week Auto Essay Scoring Headlined NCME and ASAP addressed critics.
Here’s more background on the intent and launch of the prize on

Here’s more coverage of ASAP that got the story more right than wrong:

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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