Robot essay graders a growing possibility

Yale faculty may have postponed their vote on the grading overhaul to November, but students concerned about grading policies may have something bigger to worry about: artificial intelligence software that could be used to evaluate their essays.

EdX — an education nonprofit founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — has just introduced a free online tool that automates the essay grading process. EdX president Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science, told The New York Times he believes his software will give professors more free time and allow students to receive helpful instant feedback. The software first analyzes 100 of a professor’s already graded essays, then uses machine-learning techniques to grade future papers on its own.

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