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Mass. ponders hiring a computer to grade MCAS essays. What could go wrong?

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Diane Ravitch says it is the Dumbest Idea of the Month: Massachusetts May Have Computers Grade Student Essays. Massachusetts is pondering turning over the grading of student essays to computers   Computers like long sentences; big words; and long essays. But they have  a more serious defect: They can't tell truth from falsehood. Les Perelman, a retired professor of writing at MIT, New York Times writer, Michael Winerip,     and wouldn't care if a student wrote that the War of 1812 began in 1945.  They don't fact check. That is why they can score thousands of essays in less than a minute'Who should read and assess student work? Teachers who work in the building or the district. At least then one can be certain that teachers are doing the grading, not unemployed and inexperienced college graduates who are expected to read and grade 100 essays an hour or more and certainly not computers.'

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I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)

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