Computerized essay grader shows increase in use of technology

Louis Zimmermann, Eastside Staff

Technology surrounds us and consumes our life whether it be for school work or pure pleasure. However, may the rapid increase of technology be too high?

According to The Emerging Future, a company revealing technological advancements, in the past five years, technology has advanced more than 32 times. It is no shock that universities are trying to implement a new computerized program carried out by EdX that will grade essays automatically.

Both Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have come together to create an essay and short answer grading system on EdX, a massive online course provider,  that will use artificial intelligence to grade work and give professors a more abundant amount of time to lay back and relax. The EdX grading system was created by a human grader who evaluated 100 essays to increase the knowledge of the computer and train the computer to eventually grade automatically.

The scariest fact about the EdX system is that professors could lose their jobs to mindless computer systems. With a computer grading your essays, you will not achieve the benefit of a teacher’s advice to perfect your work. The grading systems used for multiple choice based tests are easily used and provide satisfactory grading because there will obviously be a right and wrong answer.

However, essays are a whole different topic with computerized grading as they are more complicated and are not subjunctive.

Nina Kasdin (’18) said, “A computer is only set to grade at one level. Teachers are able to grade differently on what level whether it be R, A, H or AP that students are in.”

Pertaining to Cherry Hill High School East’s course level guide, a student in an Advanced Placement course should be graded at substantially higher standards than those students who take a Regular course. A computer does not have the skill nor the intelligence to understand this concept and grade essays at differentiating levels.

“Students would probably try to learn what the computer picks up on so they would just cater their writing towards the computer rather than a teacher,” said Elyssa Aaronson (’18) when asked about the level of work students would put into a computer scoring essays.

Although the essay grading system could provide multiple errors for students, it allows students to claim feedback and revisions before turning it into a professor as the final copy. Therefore, the EdX system can serve as a guide to a good essay. Students can hit the “send” button and receive instant feedback instead of waiting a couple of weeks for a response by a teacher who has 99 more essays to grade. However, the system makes student’s life almost too easy. By providing all of the revisions needed for a spotless essay in the click of a button, students are not enlightened to the true nature of grammatical errors.

English teacher, Noreen Cunningham, said, “I think that it is getting harder and harder for each generation to write something, to walk away from it, to ruminate on it and then come back to look at it with fresh eyes and tackle it again.”

While you are finishing up your in-class essay in the dreaded blue-book given to AP students, think not only that your essay is going to a distinguished and successful professor, but that you are free of any mistakes the computer could make that could eventually affect you in life. I know it seems like an absolute miracle for teachers who have over 100 students. However, is technology really worth losing your intelligence?