As we become more and more dependent on technology and the many advantages it brings, there is a downside that we have not had enough conversations about while its appeal grows– a computer grading our essays.
I am sure almost all of us who had to take those entry-level math courses remember one of the most frustrating aspects of the entire course, MyMathLab. You know, the program where the extra tap of the space bar or the wrong diagonal slant can mark your entire problem incorrect, even if the numbers are exactly right? Yes, that one. I know you remember that traumatizing experience.
But now, math is not the only possible subject being electronically graded. Essays graded by computers are increasingly becoming popular across the country.
According to an article from NPR, computers grade essays faster than humans, but not as well. A grading program missed multiple errors purposefully placed by professors and even graded former president Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as a score of two or three on a scale from one to six of writing abilities among college freshmen.
The interaction between human to human and human to paper will always prevail over human to technology. When a computer grades an essay, the student would receive feedback and marked corrections. But that is all. Wouldn’t you rather hear feedback from a professor who is qualified and trained in that field of study than from a programmed computer that has shown it is likely to make mistakes?
I know that a lot of pressure is placed on teachers of any level, but computers grading work should not be an answer. Computer grading would follow algorithms and find common mistakes, but overall, computers do not understand reasoning or opinions like humans do.
The next thing we know, math homework and essays will not be the only topics graded by computers. The grading will be extended to all subjects.
Computers have the advantage of grading faster, but when the quality of that grading is compromised, we must ask ourselves if it is truly worth it.