Open Source Essay Grader

For a number of years, some LMS solutions have included some basic written answer scoring tools, aimed at providing a guide to the human administrator that would then issue a final score.

To be of any real use to an e Learning platform, any automated essay scoring system must be able to do more than look for keywords.At the current pace of development, however, that reality may change in the very near future, so it's a topic that will be worth revisiting in the coming years.Ed X, a nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will release automated software that uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers.Most of the current development in the area is focused on the use of an NLP technique called latent semantic analysis, which is a machine learning technique that allows an AI to assess written responses by comparing them to a large number of known, human scored responses.In essence, the technology assigns grades to written answers based upon how structurally and contextually similar they are to previously scored text.That's because they're still utilizing a system that isn't capable of comprehending written answers but instead seeks to compare it to known samples.The problem with that approach is that it presupposes that the examples the AI has to use as guidelines are the only correct or incorrect responses.In short, the course designer must provide the scoring system with a weighted list of terms that should appear in a correct answer to a given prompt, and assign a point value for each of the terms.It's a system that can handle basic, short written responses that require factual answers, but little else.Anant Agarwal, an electrical engineer who is president of Ed X, predicted that the instant-grading software would be a useful pedagogical tool, enabling students to take tests and write essays over and over and improve the quality of their answers.He said the technology would offer distinct advantages over the traditional classroom system, where students often wait days or weeks for grades.“There is a huge value in learning with instant feedback,” Dr. “Students are telling us they learn much better with instant feedback.”But skeptics say the automated system is no match for live teachers.

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