Constantly Risking Absurdity
Saturday, May 07, 2005
 
Student Essays to Be Graded by Computers

"COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Student essays always seem to be riddled with the same sorts of flaws. So sociology professor Ed Brent decided to hand the work off - to a computer.

Students in Brent's Introduction to Sociology course at the University of Missouri-Columbia now submit drafts through the SAGrader software he designed. It counts the number of points he wanted his students to include and analyzes how well concepts are explained.

And within seconds, students have a score."

To paraphrase Nietzsche: "What are these standardized tests, these five-paragraph essays, these scantron sheets, if they are not the tomb and sepulchre of man?"

Santiago
 
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The intimations of a mild-mannered Paraguayan undergraduate, studying Eng. Lit. and philosophy in a small, midwestern Jesuit college.

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