Automated Essay Evaluation: The Criterion Online Writing Service

AI Magazine

In this article, we describe a deployed educational technology application: the Criterion Online Essay Evaluation Service, a web-based system that provides automated scoring and evaluation of student essays. Criterion has two complementary applications: (1) CritiqueWriting Analysis Tools, a suite of programs that detect errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics, that identify discourse elements in the essay, and that recognize potentially undesirable elements of style, and (2) e-rater version 2.0, an automated essay scoring system. Critique and e-rater provide students with feedback that is specific to their writing in order to help them improve their writing skills and is intended to be used under the instruction of a classroom teacher. All of these capabilities outperform baseline algorithms, and some of the tools agree with human judges in their evaluations as often as two judges agree with each other.


Writing Quality, Knowledge, and Comprehension Correlates of Human and Automated Essay Scoring

AAAI Conferences

Automated essay scoring tools are often criticized on the basis of construct validity. Specifically, it has been argued that computational scoring algorithms may be unaligned to higher-level indicators of quality writing, such as writers’ demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the essay topics. In this paper, we consider how and whether the scoring algorithms within an intelligent writing tutor correlate with measures of writing proficiency and students’ general knowledge, reading comprehension, and vocabulary skill. Results indicate that the computational algorithms, although less attuned to knowledge and comprehension factors than human raters, were marginally related to such variables. Implications for improving automated scoring and intelligent tutoring of writing are briefly discussed.


Internal Usability Testing of Automated Essay Feedback in an Intelligent Writing Tutor

AAAI Conferences

Research on automated essay scoring (AES) indicates that computer-generated essay ratings are comparable to human ratings. However, despite investigations into the accuracy and reliability of AES scores, less attention has been paid to the feedback delivered to the students. This paper presents a method developers can use to quickly evaluate the usability of an automated feedback system prior to testing with students. Using this method, researchers evaluated the feedback provided by the Writing-Pal, an intelligent tutor for writing strategies. Lessons learned and potential for future research are discussed.


Trustworthy Automated Essay Scoring without Explicit Construct Validity

AAAI Conferences

Automated essay scoring (AES) is a broadly used application of machine learning, with a long history of real-world use that impacts high-stakes decision-making for students. However, defensibility arguments in this space have typically been rooted in hand-crafted features and psychometrics research, which are a poor fit for recent advances in AI research and more formative classroom use of the technology. This paper proposes a framework for evaluating automated essay scoring models trained with more modern algorithms, used in a classroom setting; that framework is then applied to evaluate an existing product, Turnitin Revision Assistant.


Language models and Automated Essay Scoring

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In this paper, we present a new comparative study on automatic essay scoring (AES). The current state-of-the-art natural language processing (NLP) neural network architectures are used in this work to achieve above human-level accuracy on the publicly available Kaggle AES dataset. We compare two powerful language models, BERT and XLNet, and describe all the layers and network architectures in these models. We elucidate the network architectures of BERT and XLNet using clear notation and diagrams and explain the advantages of transformer architectures over traditional recurrent neural network architectures. Linear algebra notation is used to clarify the functions of transformers and attention mechanisms. We compare the results with more traditional methods, such as bag of words (BOW) and long short term memory (LSTM) networks.